Jewel To Sparkle At Lena Show

Perhaps I was dizzy from the gratis Sprite and the blueberry muffins that Atlantic Records plied me with at their New York City headquarters last week, but I’ll admit it straight out: I was completely enamoured with Jewel Kilcher.

The vocally soaring, angelic 22-year-old singer/songwriter with a neo-hippie past too Tom Robbins to believe looked me square in the eye and left me questionless despite the notes in front of me.

Onstage the previous night at Fez, she coaxed her standing room only, pinstriped audience with wit, poise and pipes to belie her youth. Depsite the rumbling of the subway below, Jewel — alone on stage with her feather adorned acoustic guitar — the the New York City crowd wrapt, moving from light pop songs, reminiscent of Liz Phair, to ethereal Tori Amos-like balladry.

Her performance was a breath of fresh, uncorrupted air, in the smog and soot choked city.

At once child-like and seasoned, she has control and flow that is equal parts Edie Brickell playfullness and Billie Holiday sensuality.

In conversation, Jewel leans in to make points, laughs uproariously, and whispers endearingly. In a city of cynics, she is disarming in her lack of pretense.

“It’s strange. [Some reviewers] said, ‘Unicorns and rainbows come to mind.’ I’m like, ‘Gimme a break!’ I’m not a hippie. I’m not some weird, fluffy person. I’m very real. I’m just struggling, trying to figure out my life and have some honesty.”

Jewel centered herself in the cushy board room armchair and took a slug of bottled water, and smiled.

“Ultimately, all I can do is what I believe and forget the rest. Because if I don’t, at the end of the day, I can’t sleep.”

This article first appeared in The Saratogian

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