Sexual harassment in the music industry is something Jewel knows about all too well, but, sadly, she wasn’t caught off guard when she experienced it after getting her big break. In a new interview, the singer opens up about her traumatic experiences as a young child that prepared her for what was to come.
Even before she became homeless as a teenager, Jewel lived a pretty rough life. When she was just eight years old, the singer had to deal with sexual harassment from men, and, sadly, it’s continued through the different stages of her life. Now, she’s revealing how her “horrible” past made her stronger to fight mens’ advances today.
“I’ve had men hitting on me, sadly, since I was really young,” Jewel told The Hollywood Reporter. “At 8, I had men putting dimes in my hands saying, ‘Call me. It’d be so great to f— you when you’re older.’ And just horrible stuff.” After growing up with little to nothing, Jewel began writing songs, and even lived out of her car for some time, before getting her big break at 18.
During her time of homelessness, Jewel worked by signing in bars and coffee shops, and went through some pretty traumatic experiences with her bosses and men on the streets. “I’ve never been more propositioned by businessmen in my life,” she said, of that time. “It was almost like they were sharks that could smell blood, like of vulnerability. I’d go back to my car, writing songs, and men would literally come up and proposition me. They would be like, ‘Hey do you need rent money?’ You know, things like that. It was pretty wild. I never took anybody up on it, but it was interesting to see this side of men that basically would prey on somebody vulnerable.”
But joining showbiz was just a reminder of her past experiences. Although, the one positive thing that may have came out of all of this, is that she was able to use what she went through as a child to become stronger as an adult in the industry. “In the music business, it ended up serving me very well,” she admitted. “I learned to keep my energy to myself, where there’s nothing about me that seemed approachable. And as men did approach me, I got very good at handling men in a way that sort of didn’t anger them. And at the same time using wit and humor to defense the situation and to inform them, ‘P.S. — not available in that way.'”
We’re so happy that Jewel has been able to turn her life around. In fact, she just put out her 12th album, Picking Up the Pieces — which you can buy here — and it features some brand new songs, as well as tracks she’s been playing since the very beginning, but never recorded for a record. Will you be picking up a copy, HollywoodLifers?