Jewel and Neil Young
During Neil Young's 1996 tour, singer-songwriter Jewel performed as the opening act in her first performances before large audiences. Certainly, a challenge for any act to open solo acoustic before an electric Crazy Horse set.
In discussing her new album, "Sweet and Wild", she recalls sage advice from Neil Young. From Winnipeg Free Press by Victoria Ahearn:
Jewel says the theme of her new album, "Sweet and Wild," is finding your inner truth and defending it.
It's a lesson Canadian music legend Neil Young taught her in the mid-1990s when she was touring with him and promoting her debut album, "Pieces of You," she explained in a recent interview.
At the time, her single "Who Will Save Your Soul" was "starting to have some baby success," she said, but the rest of the album was "struggling" to get off the ground and her label wanted her to give up on it and focus on a sophomore effort.
Desperate for a hit to avoid having to live in her car again, she agreed.
"I started writing kind of bad, hooky material that I thought would do well on radio but it just wasn't very me," the three-time Grammy-nominated artist, born Jewel Kilcher, said from her Texas ranch.
"I remember Neil kind of talking to me about it and I told him my dilemma. I was like, 'I wrote a song that the label loves and I just feel horrible about it, I think it's a crappy song but I really want a hit and I don't want to get dropped from my label,' and I was kind of in this terrible position.
"And Neil was like, 'Don't worry about it. Don't care about radio, don't think about radio, just keep writing what you write and stick to touring,' which kind of gave me the strength to try and keep doing that."
Later, as the album took off (it eventually sold over 12 million copies in the U.S.), Young offered her more sage advice as she walked off stage from a sound check at Madison Square Garden.
"I must have looked green because he goes, 'You look nervous,' and I was like, 'I am nervous,' and he's like, 'Why?' and I'm like, 'Because you're Neil Young and you have Crazy Horse and I'm going to die out there, they're going to murder me, solo acoustic!'" she said.
"And he looked at me, got real serious and he put his finger in my face and he goes: 'This is just another hash house on the road to success. You show them no respect,' which I thought was the coolest line ever!"
More on Neil Young's influence on other artists.