New Mom Jewel Focuses on Family: 'It's a Rare Gift'
New Mom Jewel Focuses on Family: 'It's a Rare Gift'

17-Track Set Will Feature New Duets With Kelly Clarkson, Pistol Annies

Jewel is putting the finishing touches on a "Greatest Hits" album due out Feb. 5 -- specifically deciding which of two new songs will be part of the package.

"In classic fashion, one's really dark and poetic and one's pop and fun," Jewel tells Billboard exclusively, referring to "Two Hearts Breaking" and "Dance Sing Laugh Love," respectively. She co-wrote the latter with Mike Elizondo, while both were produced by Jay Joyce. "I have no idea which one to put on; knowing me I'll put them both on and work out the publishing stuff on my end rather than choose between them."

The 17-track set also features a pair of new duet recordings. She joins forces with Kelly Clarkson on a fresh rendition of "Foolish Games," while the Pistol Annies join Jewel for another take on "You Were Meant For Me."

"I just wanted to do some duets with some artists I really liked and some voices I like," Jewel explains. "Kelly was amazing. She was a hoot to have in the studio. She had done 'Foolish Games' in several talent shows prior to 'American Idol,' so she really knew it. I'm such a fan of her voice and love what she added to the song. She was so effortless on it. It's neat to hear it in her new light.

"And with Pistol Annies, I love them. I think they're cool, and I was really excited Miranda (Lambert) and the girls wanted to be on it. We had a lot of fun."

As for the prospect of a "Greatest Hits" album, Jewel says she's both happy and humbled.

"I think it's neat," she notes. "I got signed when I was 17, and I never thought my career would go as far as it did. I really idolized John Prine, Tom Waits, that sort of (artist). I hoped that would be my lot -- I'd get to have a fan base and make records and tour. I never dreamed it would get to the highs it had. And when it did I was quite concerned about longevity, and I've always tried to make decisions that hopefully would create a good, strong fan base that was really loyal. And that's what's happened, so I feel really blessed."

The original recordings of "Who Will Save Your Soul" and "Foolish Games" will appear on Jewel's "Greatest Hits" alongside the new duet versions, while the rest of the album will include "You Were Meant For Me," "Hands," "Down So Long," "Jupiter," "Standing Still," "Break Me," "Intuition," "Good Day," "Stronger Woman, "Satisfied" and "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" from her children's album "Lullaby."

Jewel begins a 14-date tour to promote "Greatest Hits" on March 7 in Englewood, N.J. As for a next album, Jewel -- who's also been writing "quite a bit of prose" she hopes to publish soon -- has a few concepts to choose from.

"I have a lot of albums in mind, and I'm not sure which will be first," she says. "I have a country album written. I'd really like to do a follow-up to 'Pieces of You.' I'd love to do a standards record; I grew up loving Cole Porter, and that's what got me into songwriting, so I've written a few like that. I don't know how much stomach I have for another big release with lots of promotion, so we'll have to see which way I decide to go."

Jewel's tour itinerary (venues TBA) includes:

March 7: Englewood, NJ
March 8: New Brunswick, NJ
March 9: Atlantic City, NJ
March 10: Portland, ME
March 12: Boston, MA
March 13: Huntington, NY
March 14: Lancaster, PA
March 15: Bethlehem, PA
March 16: Niagara Falls, NY
March 19: Washington, DC
March 20: Greensburg, PA
March 22: Verona, NY
March 23: Lakewood, OH
March 24: Detroit, MI