OnlyOnOAOL: Jewel's philosophy: 'It's ok to not be perfect'

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By: Donna Freydkin

She's sold more than 30 million albums. But Jewel is most proud of having found a sense of very hard-won inner peace. And she opens up about what she's learned, since singing in Alaskan bars as a child, on her new web site.

"I share what I've done for myself that created change in my life. That's what got me doing it. Happiness has to do with what happens between your ears. I'm sharing what it took me 40 years to learn," says Jewel.

She says she loves touring, but it's tough being away from her son, Kase, 5. And what she values most is the time she spends with him -- daily meditation helps her stay focused and in the moment.

"There's a distraction detox. The constantly looking ahead. If you ever sit still for five minutes, it's almost like your skin crawls. Our children demand that we're present. I can tell that when I'm out of practice, I feel it. How can it feel excruciating to sit still with my child?" says Jewel.

Jewel's voice is an anomaly in our current music scene, where everything seems to be autotuned. During her sound-check and subsequent performance, she seamlessly sings live and segues between songs. When asked ahead of time what she plans to perform, Jewel shrugs. She'll figure it out on stage. "I've always had a strong voice. If I'm deathly ill, I can still sing. I don't tend to have to warm up," says Jewel, who studied operatic voice and famously knows how to yodel.

Her confidence was hard-won, and forged partly through writing poetry. "When I moved out at 15, I knew I was in trouble. I didn't want to end up in a ditch or in an abusive relationship. Happiness wasn't taught in my house. My entire life was about learning this. Music was the soundtrack," she says.

Throughout her career, Jewel has been open about the, shall we say, feedback she's gotten about her looks. In one ear, out the other.

"I've never felt like I had to change. It's ok to not be perfect. Your imperfections make you interesting. Being generic isn't that interesting. If I can make it through middle-school with these jacked-up teeth – we can make ourselves nuts trying to make ourselves prettier," she says.

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Jewel does AOL BUILD
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Jewel does AOL BUILD
Jewel does AOL BUILD, and performs as well. 
Jewel does AOL BUILD, and performs as well. 
Jewel does AOL BUILD, and performs as well. 
Jewel does AOL BUILD, and performs as well. 
Jewel does AOL BUILD, and performs as well. 
Jewel does AOL BUILD, and performs as well. 
Jewel does AOL BUILD, and performs as well. 
Jewel does AOL BUILD, and performs as well. 
Jewel does AOL BUILD, and performs as well. 
Jewel does AOL BUILD, and performs as well. 
Jewel does AOL BUILD, and performs as well. 
Jewel does AOL BUILD, and performs as well. 
Jewel does AOL BUILD, and performs as well. 
Jewel does AOL BUILD, and performs as well. 
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