On her new album Freewheelin’ Woman, Jewel presents her boldest and most unbridled body of work to date, revealing entirely new dimensions of her breathtaking voice.
The follow-up to Jewel’s self-produced and critically praised 2015 album Picking Up the Pieces, Freewheelin’ Woman finds Jewel working with producer Butch Walker (Taylor Swift, P!nk, Avril Lavigne), dreaming up a soulful and groove-heavy sound partly inspired by the classic R&B records made at Muscle Shoals.
In giving life to such a powerful selection of songs, the four-time Grammy Award-nominated artist (and 2021 Masked Singer winner) immersed herself in a process she refers to as a spiritual rewilding - a reawakening of the raw creative energy that first set her on her path as an ever-evolving singer-songwriter.
“I cut my teeth on singers like Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughan and got into those Muscle Shoals records a little later on, and for some reason that’s where my voice and my writing wanted to go on this album,” says Jewel, who recorded Freewheelin’ Woman live with a full band.
At turns triumphant, fragile, and gloriously fierce, Jewel’s voice is a perfect conduit for the personal catharsis documented on Freewheelin’ Woman. “A lot of these songs have to do with overcoming something difficult and then celebrating that, or taking the long way around to get to the place that feels right to you,” she says.
Looking back on the making of Freewheelin’ Woman, Jewel regards the album as the most recent milestone in her lifelong devotion to following her truth. “When I first got signed, I was homeless and trying to figure out whether this was a career that could actually work for me,” she says. “I knew that I wanted to be an artist, and that meant I had to be willing to grow, adapt, change, and go wherever I felt my heart needed to go, which often isn’t where managers or labels or even fans might say you should go. And I’m proud that now, at 47, I can look back and know that I’ve never done anything contrived for the sake of trying to be successful. Everything I’ve done, I did it because it was fun for me - and this record was really fun.”