Now that her Atlantic Records deal is finished, Jewel is looking ahead to a wide-open vista of possibilities and options for her career.

Now that her Atlantic Records deal is finished, Jewel is looking ahead to a wide-open vista of possibilities and options for her career.

"I think it's kind of an interesting time to not have a label," the artist tells Billboard.com. "But the industry's changed so much. It's a lot harder for [labels] to make their bottom lines, and I think they're trying to ... make their money in different ways. And the artist is going to suffer for it. So I'm not re-signing right now, 'cause I want to wait and see what the environment is like."

Nevertheless, Jewel has nothing but good things to say about Atlantic -- which she expects to put together some kind of best-of package in 2007. "I had a great home there," she says. "They've always been great to me. I never had a problem with my label."

Meanwhile, Jewel says she's "writing all the time" and has three recording projects in mind for the near future -- an "old-timey" country album, a collection of lullabies and set of original songs written in the style of Cole Porter and other American pop standards.

"I've always been enticed by that," she says of the latter. "Cole Porter's really who made me start writing songs. I love that era and style of songwriting."

Nevertheless, Jewel says the country record will likely come first. "I've been wanting to do that my whole career," she notes, "and now might be a good time to do it." Part of the reason is that, come January, she'll be spending two days a week in Nashville as the host of the upcoming season of "Nashville Star," a show she likes because of its "emphasis on trying to really make it about songwriters and talent instead of just being a little beauty pageant kind of talent show."

TV viewers will be seeing more of Jewel in the near future, too. She recently appeared on "Las Vegas" and "7th Heaven" and has an upcoming guest shot Nov. 10 on "Men in Trees." And she's still touring to promote her latest album, "Goodbye Alice in Wonderland," with a solo acoustic jaunt that begins Nov. 7 in Verona, N.Y.

Questions? Comments? Let us know: @billboard

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