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Jewel talks mental health, coronavirus and previews tonight's 'Live from San Quarantine' live-stream concert
San Diego Union-Tribune - 3/21/2020
The release of Jewel's new album and book have both been shelved because of the coronavirus, but the multimillion-record-selling former San Diego singer-songwriter isn't going to let the global pandemic postpone her benefit concert today.
What has changed, however, is the location of that concert and its audience.
The show, an annual fundraiser for Jewel's four-year-old Never Broken nonprofit foundation, is being presented in affiliation with the Inspiring Children Foundation, which was launched in 2004. Until earlier this week, tonight's concert was scheduled to take place in the 7,500-capacity Palazzo Ballroom at the Sands in Las Vegas.
Now newly billed as "Live from San Quarantine: A Livestream Concert," the concert will instead take place — sans audience — in the bedroom of Jewel's Colorado mountain home. The concert will stream live at 5 p.m. PST today on her Instagram page (@jewel) and on her Facebook page (@jeweljk).
"It's all just been happening and changing in real time," Jewel said, speaking Friday from her Telluride home.
"We've been pulling this together really fast, because all the public gatherings were starting to cancel. So we started thinking: 'What else can we do?' Because this is one of two fund-raising concerts we have each year. We decided to do (the live stream)."
Jewel's debut album, "Pieces of Me," was released in 1995. She was signed by Atlantic Records after creating a huge buzz with her performances at the Inner Change Coffeehouse in Pacific Beach and at the original Java Joe's location in Poway.
She went on to open national tour dates for everyone from Bob Dylan and the Ramones to Bauhaus, before becoming a headliner in her own right and pushing sales of her "Pieces of Me" album past the 12 million mark.
In January of 1997, Jewel performed at President Clinton's second inaugural ball in Washington, D.C. A month later, she and "Wayne's World" star Mike Myers were co-presenters on that year's Grammy Awards telecast. In August of 1997, Jewel and her band performed at the 19997 edition of the Woodstock festival in upstate New York.
Playing her songs tonight for an online audience is not her ideal scenario, but Jewel vows to make the best of it.
"You've known me a long time and you know I've never done set lists," said Jewel, who promises to mix new songs, old favorites and obscure numbers suggested online by her fans for tonight's concert.
"I'm happiest when I'm winging it," she continued. "For this live stream concert, I'm just hoping the internet doesn't fail! I'm all about the emotional connection with my audience and it will be completely different to sit in my bedroom and have no reaction, because I feed off my audience. But I'm sure there's a way to do this and that people are figuring, if there are flubs, it's really about the spirit of the evening. I'll play songs and answer questions, in real time, about mental health issues."
The 2017 debut edition of Jewel's Never Broken/Inspiring Children Foundation concert in Las Vegas raised $750,000. The annual benefit accounts for about 80 percent of the budget for her foundation, which helps provides at-risk youth with food, housing, clothing and other necessities, along with mentoring and tools to help them physically, emotionally and mentally.
Jewel is a firm proponent of providing mental health care to those in need. She is convinced that with most of the nation's population now being isolated in their own homes, mental health issues will grow more pressing than ever.
"People are talking about all the physical effects of coronavirus, but not the mental health aspects," Jewel said. "I'm worried that suicides could out-number coronavirus deaths."
Her goal with tonight's live stream concert is to have 5,000 people sign up to donate $1 a day, for one year, online at InspiringChildren.net
"I've faced a lot of unimaginable setbacks in my life," said Jewel, whose 2015 memoir, "Never Broken — Songs Are Only Half the Story," chronicled her abusive father, her subsequent homelessness in San Diego, her kidney problems and more.
"And I've learned that each setback also provides an enormous opportunity, even if I don't know what it is. With coronavirus, all of us have to figure out: 'What am I going to do now?' Because everything we know is different now. So we have two options. We can either give up, or ask: 'What can I do?' And I want to do the latter."
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