Best-selling singer-songwriter Jewel's career as a versatile pop, adult contemporary, and country music recording artist led to a second outlet as a television personality and outspoken activist. She was born Jewel Kilcher on May 23, 1974, and raised in rural Homer, AK, where she showed an early talent for singing and regularly accompanied her folk musician/music teacher father onstage at venues. Her musicianship was further nurtured with opera training at the famed Interlochen Arts Academy in Michigan, after which Jewel joined her mother in San Diego and quickly built up a local following with regular coffeehouse performances of her original material. When the bohemian young folkie became the object of a record label bidding war, she ultimately signed with Atlantic and released her 1995 debut Pieces of You which spawned mega hits "Who Will Save Your Soul?" and "You Were Meant for Me." The album spent nearly two years on the Billboard charts and sold over 12 million copies, making Jewel one of the most popular of the era's flood of guitar-wielding female singers.