After three Grammy nominations, and with her seventh album about to be released, Jewel says she's loving life.
"You know, I can't believe I'd get to do it. I never thought I would get paid for something I enjoy," Jewel told ABC News' Marysol Castro.
"I didn't mean to be a songwriter; I just was writing for fun, you have all day to do it. I was homeless so that's all I had to do," she said, now able to smile about it.
By the time Jewel was 19 she already had lived a lifetime, growing up in Alaska where she lived off the land, without plumbing or hot water.
She then moved to California to pursue songwriting, while living out of a van.
"I was homeless and I was in San Diego and I started singing in a local coffee shop and people started coming to hear me sing," she explained.
Jewel recently went before Congress to address the youth homeless issue in the U.S.
"We must all work together to end youth homelessness in America," she said at a hearing with the House of Representatives.
Jewel says her new album is country album, but she's not ready to be labeled a country or crossover artist.
"I'm not sure what to consider myself; I have always been into story telling … For me, as a storyteller, I just try to use whatever to tell the story," she said.
Today, at the age of 35, Jewel lives in Texas, far from the limelight of Hollywood, with her boyfriend of 10 years, Ty Murray, a professional bull rider.
She says she's enjoys balancing farm life with red carpet events.
"We do chores, you know, we'll be doctoring a calf one morning and then the next morning we'll be at the Oscar red carpet, so it's a kick.
"I try not to take it overly serious. I have a life that I enjoy; I try and value the things that I think are worth valuing and everything else is icing. You know, it is a kick to go down the red carpet in that dress and then you go back home."
For now life is good and Jewel seems happy with what she has, and isn't worried about what she doesn't. "I have exceeded every expectation I have ever held for myself so everything is just gravy right now."