Star Tribune, Jan. 10, 2003
It was getting embarrassing. No one in the music business would take them seriously. So, early in her career, pop singer Jewel had to stop calling her manager “Mom” and address Lenedra Carroll by her first name.
Now, 16 million albums sold later,
Jewel, right, with mother/manager Lenedra Carroll’, HAUTO, VAUTO, SNAPX, ‘5’)” onMouseOut=”nd()”>Jewel and “Nedra” need to find time to be daughter and mother together.
“We have to force ourselves to not always be talking business,” Carroll said. “We went to a movie together last week — ‘Catch Me If You Can.’ “
This weekend, they will catch up with each other at the Women’s Expo at the Minneapolis Convention Center.
Mother, 52, will give three talks based on the philosophies in her self-help book, “The Architecture of All Abundance: Creating a Successful Life in the Material World.”
Daughter, 28, will perform a solo concert as a fundraiser for the ClearWater Project, which supplies safe drinking water for Third World countries.
Carroll said they make joint appearances two or three times a year, but usually at more exclusive nonprofit events.
Will she sing with her daughter this weekend?
“I never know,” said Carroll, who has sung backup on two of Jewel’s albums and sometimes performs with her in concert. “She calls me out of the audience. I just have to wing it when she does.”
For her talks this weekend, Carroll also will wing it, relying on the audience for direction.
“I will be talking about creating an abundant life,” she said by phone from San Diego (where she splits her time with Washington state). “In a world where there’s a lot of questioning now of whole corporate involvement and corruption and so on, I want to talk about the idea that corporations need to be ‘generative’ as well as profit-oriented.”
Carroll and Jewel cofounded Higher Ground for Humanity, a global humanitarian organization, in 1998. The ClearWater Project is one of that group’s programs, providing drinking water in Honduras, India, Tibet and Mexico. In her book, Carroll explains the evolution of these campaigns.
She wrote the book because people asked her to tell her rags-to-riches story — or, as she put it, from living in a van (she and Jewel really did that) to living in mansions — and to explain how the two maintained their values while working in the entertainment industry.
Carroll’s book is short on music-biz dirt and long on New Age philosophizing, with her poems cropping up throughout. It doesn’t discuss perhaps Jewel’s most embarrassing moment in the business: wearing a see-through gown at the 1997 Grammy Awards.
“We all approved it in the hotel room, where the lighting made it look like a totally fine dress,” Carroll remembered. “Then when she was out in the television lighting, it was ‘Oh my! She has a risqué dress.’ It was a surprise to all of us, including Jewel.
“What’s really funny is that, next to what Christina Aguilera wears or anyone like that, Jewel’s infamous dress is modesty personified.”
Jewel is family name
Jewel got her name from her mother (it’s Carroll’s middle name) and her maternal grandfather, Jasper Jewel Carroll. Jewel’s parents divorced when she was 8. She and brothers Shane and Atz lived with their father in Alaska for several years. In high school, her singing won her a scholarship to an arts academy in Michigan. After graduation, she moved to San Diego to live with her mom.
Hence, the mother-daughter relationship has evolved in atypical ways.
“We came together at a time when most kids are separated from their parents,” Carrollpointed out.
Their bond has gone through several phases. As Jewel became more autonomous — branching out into acting (the 1999 film “Ride With the Devil“), poetry (the bestseller “A Night Without Armor“) and autobiography (“Chasing Down the Dawn“) — Carroll said that “I had to quit mothering in the management relationship.”
Although Carroll will be in Minneapolis for more than two days, there won’t be time for the two to see a movie. Jewel is scheduled to fly in on Saturday, the day of her show, because she’s busy recording a new dance-flavored album with producer Lester Mendez, known for his work with Shakira, Santana and Enrique Iglesias.
Their next mother-daughter movie could be a script they bought, which includes a dramatic role for Jewel. “Wave” is a four-person ensemble piece about a mother who gets out of prison after killing her son’s father. More to the point, it’s about rebuilding a parent-child relationship — a subject Carroll and Jewel know something about.