Jewel's 1999 Christmas Message To The EDAs
December 25th, 1999
Well, its been quite a year. I've been tired and had to ask myself why
I'm traveling and scattering my youth between road houses and airports
and smoky venues. Singing has always made it worth while. Getting up on
stage and singing for people made me feel like I'm useful in the world.
But this year has been challenging, as the importance of record sales
and hits and radio play and videos and popularity and chart positions
have seemingly begun to eclipse and prevent any good which may
reverberate from me, from making it back to my attention. As I become
more famous, the more removed I am from feeling every move and twitch of
the people I sing for. If I am not making a difference, I have no desire
to continue at the pace I have. Why would I? I have enough money to
retire. Why would I put up with fame? The point of life is not record
sales. It is not what will make me feel proud of myself when I look
back on my life.
What makes me proud is knowing that there are people I
touch that do not depend on me for anything other than inspiration,
people who do not become crippled by my celebrity, but enabled. I am
reminded of when I was 18; I went to Alaska and stood on the beach. I
looked across the gray water and mountains and asked if I really wanted
to sign to a record deal, to leave Alaska, to travel, to take on the
uncertainties of potential fame. I decided I did because I had felt
alone in my life, and knew acutely how others felt alone. I had seen
the effect music had on people in my shows, and felt I had received a
gift every time I sang for people. It was a gift that healed me with
every note, and magically seemed to heal others in ways only they knew.
It has been scary to see me referred to in the press as a pop icon. If
all people get from me is the perpetuation of mini-skirts and bubble gum,
I'd rather go home. Your letters help remind me that you all get the
meaning of music, whether mine or someone else's, more than the critics
who write articles on music. Knowing I touch your lives and that in
turn you reach out and touch others, effects the deepest part of me, and
inspires me in return to continue. It is a reciprocity I feel with all
of you. We are all inexorably bound, and I am never detached from the
same fabric we are all woven into, even if at times I feel like I am.
No heart is exempt from feeling the longing, hope, heroism, fear, anger,
and tremendous unspoken joy of the heart of every man and woman. Thank
you all for being willing to realize your place in this, and not tuning
it out. I know the burden of feeling can be so overwhelming it can make
you wish you did not feel at all. I know it can paralyze you. You are
all heroic in my eyes for choosing to let it inspire you instead, and
to reach out and make a difference. As you know, it really matters.
Happy holidays and thank you for helping bring the spirit of the season
home to my heart and many others.