By Veronica Dudo
ATLANTIC CITY, NJ (CBS) — While on her Greatest Hits Tour, singer and songwriter Jewel recently performed at the Golden Nugget Casino in Atlantic City. She’s received several Grammy Award nominations and has sold over 27 million albums worldwide. In February of 2013, Jewel released her first ever career-spanning album that includes new recordings of two of her classic hits with guest vocalists Kelly Clarkson, who performs on “Foolish Games,” and the Pistol Annies on “You Were Meant For Me.”
Jewel is married to pro rodeo cowboy Ty Murray, and in 2011, the couple had a son, Kase Townes Murray. Before performing in the Garden State, Jewel talked about her new album, the Greatest Hits Tour, her musical influences and her memories of Philadelphia.
Have you ever been to Atlantic City before?
I have! I enjoy it, and I’m bringing the baby with me this time, so he’ll enjoy it I know.
What can fans expect during your concert in AC?
When I come to Atlantic City, I won’t really have a set list. I like to do a different show every night. I take requests. My fans usually drive from all over and know all the songs, so I have a large book of lyrics with over 500 songs, so if I don’t know it, I will open my book and try and learn it real quick. I record the show every night so that people can buy it after the show, so they can have some of this unrecorded material that hasn’t been released yet.
Why did you wait until now to release a greatest hits album?
It spans my career, and I wanted to wait until now because I knew I really wanted to do a bunch of different styles and I needed some time to get that accomplished. It starts with the first song I ever wrote and it goes chronologically, and then ends with the most recent song I’ve written called, “Two Hearts Breaking,” which is a new song. I also re-cut “Foolish Games” with Kelly Clarkson and “You Were Meant For Me” with the Pistol Annies, which is Miranda Lambert’s side project, so that was really fun.
Who were some artists that influenced your career?
Loretta Lynn, Merle Haggard, Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Rickie Lee Jones, Cole Porter, Maria Callas.
What other projects are you working on?
I also have a Christmas record coming out this year. I just finished my vocals for that. And I have a children’s book coming out called Sweet Dreams For You.
How has being a mom influenced some of your career choices?
I didn’t work for a year and a half. I took a big chunk of time off, and I didn’t know if I’d ever want to work again. I just wanted to see what it was like. Now, I sort of feel like I’m able to work; he’s old enough to come and have him with me, because I don’t like to be away from him. I get to enjoy and show him the country, show him the world and share music with him. It’s a lot of fun.
You’re comfortable with different types of music but really enjoy country music. What is it about that genre that speaks to you?
The reason why I’m a fan and have always listened to country music is because it’s very authentic. You have Loretta Lynn just being herself and talking about the pill and glad she’s not getting knocked up anymore—I love the honesty! I like that each artist is just themselves, and they don’t have any pretense of trying to pretend to be something that they’re not. And I think that’s good for our country, especially when pop music goes through its cycles of being very real and very unreal. You get very real phases of a really cool artist, and you get these fantastic sort of pop silliness, which is a lot of fun to enjoy but sometimes is more about being cool then it is about being real.
Has there been a ‘wow’ moment for you in your career?
Oh my gosh—many! When I toured for Bob Dylan, he mentored me and took me under his wing and would go over my lyrics with me and gave me books to read—it was pretty amazing, and I got to sing with him on his tour. Neil Young was the same way, and then Merle Haggard, I got to do a duet with him and I just grew up idolizing him. And BB King was another one, so those were some pretty big highlights for me.
Do you have any fond memories of Philadelphia?
Yes, lots of memories! I’ve been touring there forever, oh my gosh—probably since I was 18 or 19 years old. So I’ve had a lot of fun in the city. I really enjoy the people, and I’m looking forward to coming back. It was one of the first cities I ever did a residency tour in. I was 18 or 19 and would go to the same cafe over and over.
Veronica Dudo is an award-winning journalist covering everything from breaking news to red carpet celebrity interviews. Follow her on Twitter @VeronicaDudo and Facebook