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Ask Billboard: Jewel, Ciara, Ricky Martin

With a career spanning pop to country, Jewel keeps shining on Billboard charts. Readers also check in on Ciara's sales, Shakira and "Glee."

Ask Billboard is updated every Friday. Submit your burning music questions to Gary Trust at askbb@billboard.com. Please include your first and last name, as well as your city, state and country, if outside the U.S.


Hi Gary,

I was ecstatic when I saw that Jewel‘s latest album, “Sweet and Wild,” has debuted on the Billboard 200. It is frustrating that I seldom see her name buzzed about on the Internet much anymore, even though she has continued to release high-quality albums.


Compared to other acts who rose to fame at the same time, such as Alanis Morissette, has Jewel remained relevant and successful since her arrival in 1995?

And, how well has each of Jewel’s records sold?


Binh Vuong
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Hi Binh,

Thanks to her segue to country music with the release of “Perfectly Clear” on the Nashville-based Valory label in 2008, Jewel has added a new format’s worth of fans since arriving as a folky singer/songwriter in the mid-’90s, some of which were likely already familiar with her music.

“If I had been discovered now, living in my car in San Diego, I think I would have been signed as a country act,” Jewel said in 2008. “As a singer/songwriter and as a storyteller, I’m old-fashioned. I like a beginning middle and end to my songs. That’s pretty much just country radio now.”

Jewel’s rather natural evolution to the Nashville community has worked nicely, as “Perfectly Clear” debuted at No. 1 on the Country Albums chart in 2008 and three of her songs have reached the top 40 on Country Songs.

In the mid-’90s, Jewel was one of several rock-based acts that spurred the spinoff of the adult top 40 radio format from mainstream adult contemporary and the subsequent creation of Billboard’s Adult Pop Songs airplay chart. Notably, the lead singer of another star act of that era – Hootie & the Blowish’s Darius Rucker – has also gone country with great success since 2008.

Michelle Branch, as half of the Wreckers, and Jessica Simpson similarly transitioned in recent years. Such a switch in styles from pop to country isn’t a brand new trend; Conway Twitty and Exile are two acts that made such moves decades earlier.

Thus, Jewel has clearly remained a relevant recording artist with a fan base comprising fans of both her more pop-leaning earlier recordings and her newer unquestionably country sound.

Here is a look at the sales of each of Jewel’s albums, according to Nielsen SoundScan:

Sales to-date, Title, Year of Release
7,353,000, “Pieces of You,” 1995
3,711,000, “Spirit,” 1998
1,578,000, “This Way,” 2001
1,091,000, “Joy: a Holiday Collection,” 1999
771,000, “0304,” 2003
377,000, “Goodbye Alice in Wonderland,” 2006
240,000, “Perfectly Clear,” 2008
37,000, “Lullaby,” 2009
32,000, “Sweet and Wild,” 2010 (to-date)

Jewel has sold 15.2 million albums in her career, according to SoundScan. Comparing her totals with other female acts that enjoyed breakthroughs during the original Lilith Fair era, her sales sum closely follows those of Morissette (20.5 million units), Sarah McLachlan (18.7 million) and Sheryl Crow (17.3 million).ENJOYING THE ‘RIDE’

Hi Gary,

I was wondering if you could please run a sales analysis on Ciara. With her currently back with new music on R&B radio, I would greatly appreciate finding out her top-selling albums.

Thank you,

Shaun Ashford
Long Beach, California

Hi Shaun,

Ciara adds to an already impressive resume on the R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart this week. Here’s what Billboard R&B/hip-hop chart manager writes in the new issue of the magazine:

“Ciara logs her 12th top 10 on R&B/Hip-Hop Songs, as ‘Ride,’ the lead single from her forthcoming album ‘Basic Instinct,’ cruises 18-9. Since notching six weeks at No. 1 with her debut single ‘Goodies’ in 2004, the singer is tied with Beyonce for the most top 10s by a female in that span.”

(“Hey guys!! I just want to thank u guys for all your support!! ‘Ride’ is now top 10 because of u! Let’s keep it going!!,” Ciara Tweeted Monday).

Here is a look at the album sales to-date of 24-year-old Ciara Princess Harris, according to SoundScan:

2,748,000, “Goodies,” 2004
1,326,000, “Ciara: the Evolution,” 2006
193,000, “Fantasy Ride,” 2009

In her career, Ciara has sold 4.3 million albums and 6.9 million digital tracks, according to SoundScan.


Hi Gary,

Sports fun on the charts! (Yay for the Lakers!) Regarding the several World Cup-related songs that impact this week’s Billboard surveys, as noted in yesterday’s Chart Beat, I recall that Ricky Martin‘s World Cup ode “The Cup of Life” peaked at No. 45 on the Hot 100 in 1999. Now, Shakira‘s “Waka Waka (This Time for Africa)” bests Martin’s chart performance with the debut of her new soccer song at No. 43.

Regarding another singer, like Martin, who entered show business at a young age, yes, my favorite, Stevie Wonder, it’s amazing to see that the “Glee” cast has now surpassed his total of Hot 100 hits, 64 to 63.

Unlike on their show, on Billboard charts, those “Glee” folks are bullies …

Pablo Nelson
Berkeley, California

Hi Pablo,

Good stuff, as always (except for the basketball reference … Enjoy your team’s hard-fought win, though. I’ll, meanwhile, console myself with this great song originally released during Larry Bird’s heyday …)

As Shakira posts a higher Hot 100 peak than Martin with a World Cup song, the latter’s official theme song for France in 1998 is enjoying renewed popularity amidst 2010 World Cup excitement. “The Cup of Life” re-enters Billboard’s Latin Digital Songs chart at No. 20 with an increase of 136% in sales, according to SoundScan.

Regarding “Glee,” the series’ Journey-centric season finale June 8 not only resulted in its third Billboard 200 No. 1 and more Hot 100 headlines for the ensemble, but also a jump in sales for the venerable rock band. “Journey’s Greatest Hits” bounds 104-57 on the Billboard 200 with a 62% sales gain to 8,000.

The original versions of Journey’s songs that the “Glee” cast performed on the episode likewise benefit: “Don’t Stop Believin’ ” jumps 15-8 on Billboard’s Rock Digital Songs chart (23,000 downloads sold, up 23%) and “Faithfully” enters the list at No. 31 (9,000, up 162%). Below the 50-position survey, Journey’s “Any Way You Want It” sold 6,000 downloads in the chart’s tracking week (up 139%) and “Lovin’ Touchin’ Squeezin’ ” shifted 3,000 (up 58%).

The original recordings of the other “Glee” songs from the show’s season finale soundtrack also surge: Israel “IZ” Kamakawiwo’Ole’s “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” (27,000, up 88%; the program’s Will Schuester performed the song in the style of the late Hawaiian singer), Queen‘s “Bohemian Rhapsody” (13,000, up 99%) and Lulu’s “To Sir With Love” (4,000, up 557%).