Jewel: Why She Refused to Write Another Song Like ‘You Were Meant for Me’

“You Were Meant for Me” remains one of Jewel’s most well-known songs. Despite this, she refused to write another like it. During an interview, she revealed why her style evolved from folk music to dance-pop.

Jewel singing songs with her guitar
Jewel | Anthony Pidgeon/Redferns

Why people felt Jewel was a ‘sell-out’

Jewel first became famous thanks to her album Pieces of You. Pieces of You was a folk record with some ballads that worked well with the easy listening radio format that was popular in the 1990s. The album included the famous songs “Foolish Games,” “Who Will Save Your Soul,” and “You Were Meant for Me.” Several albums later, Jewel started making pop music on her album 0304.

During an interview with Forbes, Jewel said 0304 made people question her artistic integrity. “The ’90s were so funny — it was so about credibility,” she said. “You shouldn’t have to think about it if you’re authentic. I watched so many male rock stars spend an hour on their hair so it looked like they just woke up. (laughs) I found it incredibly indulgent and pretentious, personally. And so I was called to sell out when I went pop.”

Jewel felt she would have ‘lost it’ if she wrote another song like ‘You Were Meant for Me’

Jewel didn’t think she abandoned her credibility with 0304. “But to me, that was the opposite of selling out,” she said. “That was me taking risks and doing what was really in my heart.”

Jewel wanted 0304 to be an album in the vein of a famous artist. “I wanted to write a smart pop record that was lyrically driven and relevant — kind of like a modern Cole Porter record,” she revealed. “So to me, if I had done a Pieces of You 2.0 or ‘You Were Meant for Me 2.0,’ you would have known I completely lost it and tried to just be commercial for no reason.”

The way the world reacted to ‘You Were Meant for Me’ compared to some of her later songs

Notably, fans seemed to embrace Pieces of You more than 0304. The former peaked at No. 4 on the Billboard 200 and stayed on the chart for 114 weeks. “You Were Meant for Me” and “Foolish Games” were released as a double A-side single that peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 and stayed on the chart for 65 weeks. Meanwhile, “Who Will Save Your Soul” peaked at No. 11 and remained on the chart for 30 weeks.


Jewel Was Discovered While Experiencing Homelessness — She Felt Like ‘Being Cinderella in the Pumpkin’

0304 peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 — slightly higher than Pieces of You. Despite this, it merely remained on the chart for 21 weeks. The most popular single from the album, “Intuition,” reached No. 20 and lasted on the chart for 20 weeks. None of the other singles from 0304 charted. While Jewel didn’t want to write another song like “You Were Meant for Me,” the public seemed more interested in that song than some of her later offerings.