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Jewel: Food and Farming

In the Feb. 9 issue of Country Weekly, Jewel talks about the importance of helping family farmers and her own background as a farm girl in Alaska—as well as her life with new husband Ty Murray on their Texas ranch. Here are a few online-only exclusive outtakes from our talk with Jewel.

On Ranching in Texas:

“We have a cattle farm. We have about 500 head. We work the calves every spring and we have our own hay, so we bring that in each summer. Then we ship in the fall. Ty runs the ranch mostly. He’s part cowboy, part vet. Usually I’m not working this much, so I can make sure to be here for brandings and shippings.”

On Her Upbringing:

“I was raised on a ranch where we lived off the land. I knew it was a little unusual, how I was raised. We felt real lucky. I lived in Anchorage, a big city, until I was about 8. Then my parents divorced. My dad moved back to his dad’s place, our family ranch. That’s the great thing—if you’re broke, if you’re down and out, but you’re lucky enough to have a piece of land, it’ll take care of you. Even though we were really poor we were able to eat well because we had land. That was really a gift.”

On Her Involvement in Campbell’s “Help Grow Your Soup” Campaign:

“Campbell’s came to me and asked me if I knew anything about the FFA [Future Farmers of America]. I love the FFA. It’s a great program. It teaches you so much responsibility. I think it was very good for me. It tries to pass on good values of being a good person, being responsible. They’re not just teaching about agriculture. So when said they had a program where they were partnering with the FFA, it was a no-brainer for me to get involved. There’s a website,, that encourages people to find out where their ingredients come from.”

On Her Favorite Soup:

“I love the tomato soup the most. Grilled cheese and tomato soup is one of my favorite things to eat. For cooking, I use the cream of mushroom and cream of celery a lot. I grew up using a lot of Campbell’s soups to cook meals with.”

On Marriage:

“My life is good. It’s really fun. I didn’t know how it would change, because we’ve been together for 10 years. But it is different. It’s a nice settled feeling. We want to start a family, so hopefully I won’t have to work as hard on the next record.”

On Crossing Genres:

“My music’s always a little different. No matter what format I’m getting played in, it’s never quite down the middle. It takes a lot of work to support that kind of music. I decided a long time ago to just make the kind of music I like, but it means a little more elbow grease.”

On Writing Songs for Others:

“I’ve been writing in Nashville since I was 19 or 20. But when you’re also a singer you’re always looking for songs for yourself, so you end up hoarding songs. I have over 500 songs, and I have to start letting them go. My goal is to try and start getting cuts with some other artists so I can stay home and still get to fulfill that creative side.”

On Her New DVD, The Essential Live Songbook:

“I’ve always been a little bit uncomfortable in the studio, so it was fun to do live recordings of shows. It’s in three different atmospheres. One’s a band, one’s solo acoustic and one’s with an orchestra. I do my own material as well as an aria that I learned when I went to private school. Also some Cole Porter songs. Cole Porter really made me want to start writing. I’m not a big fan of watching myself. I probably should. I’d probably be better if I did. It makes me too mental. It takes me outside of the creative process. It’s such an internal thing for me that when I watch it it just makes it an odd experience.”

On Fame:

“I never thought the point was being famous or popular or anything like that. The blessing has been that I get to do something that I absolutely enjoy doing. It’s a gift I never thought I’d get.”