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Jewel Defends Her Country Roots

“Singing is the easy part of my job!” Jewel jokes, proving to be a good sport after a harrowing flight. The famed singer-songwriter had quite a scary trip to our Beverly Hills studios, as her plane had to make an emergency landing at another airport. Still, she arrived cool as a cucumber to her AOL Music Sessions taping, dazzling us with a performance of songs from her new country album, ‘Perfectly Clear.’

The 33-year-old songbird has made headlines with her move to country radio, but she doesn’t really understand all of the fuss. Jewel says Nashville is where her heart has been all along.

“I didn’t wake up and become somebody else on this record,” she explains. “Something a lot of people don’t realize is four of my six records were made in Nashville with Nashville players. I’ve been writing and recording in Nashville, because it’s a great town based on talent. They don’t trade on celebrity.”

Jewel argues that she has never really seen herself as a “pop star” but rather as a songwriter drawing from a variety of influences.

“I personally grew up listening to Loretta Lynn and Merle Haggard, as well as Joni Mitchell and Bob Dylan. I never really saw a difference,” she explains.

Jewel has been received in the country world with open arms. She says she’s loving meeting a new crop of fans and “starting over” as a country artist, and she feels right at home on country radio.

“Country has sort of become that wide open format right now, as long as it’s authentic,” she explains. “You can have somebody that’s rock ‘n’ roll and kind of angry like Miranda Lambert, and you can have somebody that’s traditional and authentic like George Strait. You can have somebody that has his own perspective as a songwriter like Dierks Bentley, and it all kind of goes. It all fits together because each person is authentically telling their story from their viewpoint.”

Jewel proves in her AOL Sessions performance that whether in pop or country, a good song is just that. She played several tracks from ‘Perfectly Clear,’ as well as her huge 1995 hit, ‘You Were Meant for Me,’ solo on the acoustic guitar. Watch her live performance here.

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