After a two year hiatus, ‘The Sing-Off’ [made] it’s television debut on Monday night on NBC with a few major changes to its repertoire. Adding her name to the judges table is singer- songwriter Jewel, who’s known for her sultry ballots [sic] [ballads ?] and poetic voice. After appearing as a guest mentor on ‘The Voice’ and ‘American Idol,’ Jewel is ready for the next big step towards helping young singers find their voice. She stopped by our offices to discuss the show, her new album, and how singing competitions have raised the singing bar.
AOL: What has this experience been like for you?
Jewel: I’m excited to be a part of ‘The Sing-Off’ because I really believe in music. I believe in talent and mentoring talent. I was really lucky to have been mentored by Bob Dylan and Merle Haggard when I was young, and they were a sounding board for me to express myself and my music. If artists aren’t looking out for other artists, then what do we have? I’d like to be able to pay that back with this show.
Jewel: The network lets us being very technical. It’s really neat that the network hasn’t shied away from that. We are the kind of judges I’d want as a contestant. We’re really listening to what they are actually doing. Not just looking for soundbites.
AOL: Why did you decide to be a judge on ‘The Sing-Off”?
Jewel: I enjoy reality singing competitions. I think they’ve up’d the game in terms of alerting record labels to the fact that America can discern between singers and non-singers. I think it’s been a great outlet to let talent get discovered.
AOL: Each judge takes on a different role (or character), what type of judge were you?
Jewel: I’ll have to see what people think. I think people tend to think i’m poetic and soft spoken, which is a part of my personality, but I moved out when I was 15-years-old and homeless at 18-years-old. You don’t get through that without being a little scrappy. I’m not into whiners and victims, if you really want something, look at yourself and take responsibility. I take the contestants very seriously and I assume they want serious feedback.
AOL: What was the most challenging part of being a judge?
Jewel: Getting comfortable with eliminations and giving bad news. I’m kinda like band mom, I want everyone to win.
AOL: The show is very different this year, what should the audience expect?
Jewel: It is formatted differently, seven episodes in two weeks. We did have some structural differences, the bottom two get to battle. There are a lot of surprises in store!
AOL: Your new album, ‘Let It Snow: A Holiday Collection’, is out in stores, what should we expect to hear?
Jewel: I have an eclectic approach. It might sound a bit schizophrenic when I say it out loud but I have jazz, country, classic, choral pieces, middle eastern flare all in the same record. It’s an elegant record, all the songs sound great back to back.