Advanced level English
the voice from Alaska
If you drive 200 miles down the lonely road leading
southwest out of Anchorage, Alaska, you'll eventually
small town of Homer - an isolated
community, population 4000, near the end of the Kenai peninsula.
Maybe by Alaskan standards it is not too wild. At
least there is a road - the kind of luxury that is not offered to every
community in America's distant northernmost state. In winter time, the
snowplows cut through the snow, leaving it banked up twenty feet
high on either side of the road. "You can drive it," says Jewel,
"If you're a good driver."
This is where Jewel grew up. Her childhood was spent
on a 400-hectare homestead, with
no television and no running
water. As a child her main occupation apart from going to school, was
after her horses.
Jewel was born in 1974 in Utah, the daughter of a
Swiss-born father and an Alaskan mother; her parents, who were Mormons,
earned a living as social workers, and also as a folk-singing duo.
When Jewel was a baby, the family moved up to Homer.
There was work there for her parents in the region's tourist hotels,
managers were delighted to have some locally-resident folk singers;
was six, Jewel and her brothers joined the family group, the Kilchers.
singing family was a big hit, becoming one of Alaska's most sought-after
acts. However, her parents did not want to go down the commercial road
by certain other singing families, and did not make any records.
When Jewel was eight, her parents divorced; it was a heart-wrenching
moment for Jewel when her mother left the family home, and headed for
warmer climate of San Diego, leaving Jewel and her brothers with their
To cope with the divorce, Jewel
found comfort with her horses,
and also turned to writing poems and songs.
"For a child," she told the magazine Interview,
"Divorce is like being torn out of the only air you've ever known. My
became, to a large degree, my oxygen supply."
As she grew older, people in Homer increasingly
recognized the musical talents of the young Kilcher girl. At age 15,
won a 70% scholarship to the
prestigious Interlochen Arts Academy
in Michigan, Homer residents chipped in
to cover the rest of the
Before going to Interlochen, Jewel had been thinking
of becoming an opera-singer; but she did not particularly like her two
Michigan, and while there her tastes changed, she took up the guitar,
writing her own songs.
After graduating, she went to join her mother who was
living a fairly precarious life
in San Diego. At first things did
not work out too well. Jewel found jobs, but seemed to lose them almost
quickly; employers did not really appreciate the way she spent too much
talking to customers and employees, rather than getting on with the job.
Eventually she got a folk-singing job at the Innerchange,
a popular coffee bar in Pacific Beach. And that, as they say, is where
really began to happen.
Jewel's Thursday night spot soon became the most
popular event of the week at the Innerchange; people started pressing
in to see
this beautiful 19-year old blonde folk-singer, and by 1994, she was
shows a day, and still the people kept coming.
Naturally, word soon got around that there was this
amazing young folk-singer at the Innerchange, and
some record company executives
came down from L.A.; the men from Atlantic records liked what they
within weeks they had offered Jewel a recording contract.
Jewel's first album, partly recorded live at the
Innerchange, came out in 1995. At first it went nowhere, taking 14
reach the Billboard top 200. Since then, everything has fallen into
1997, Pieces of You was the second highest selling album of the year in
the USA (4.3 million copies sold), and so far now it has sold over ten
copies worldwide. Now, at the end of 2014, she is working on her
Though Jewel is now a megastar, she remains strongly
attached to her Alaskan roots, and looks forward to her visits back
"I'm not American," she says, "I'm Alaskan. It's a different
country. People look at me very oddly
in the States, but at home
I fit right in."
finally - peninsula: narrow
land, almost an island - bankedup:
piled up - homestead: home,
rural home -
Mormons: members of the Mormon religion - sought
after: desired - heart-wrenching:
terrible - cope with: survive - 70
% scholarship: 70% of the cost is offered free - chip
unstable - executives:
managers - odd: bizarre.
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Music : Jewel - the voice from
the article about Jewel Kilcher, the put these events into the correct
Gets a folk-singing
B. Moves to Homer
C Thinks of opera
D. Gets recording contract.
F. Lives in Utah.
G. Goes to San
H. Goes to school in Michigan
family singing group.
J Has second best selling album of the
Then use these events as the framework of a short biographical summary
of Jewel Kilcher, to be written using between ninety-five and a hundred
and five words (no
more, no less