Woman came about because, one sunny afternoon in Bermuda, it suddenly hit me. I saw what women do for us. Not just what my Yoko does for me, although I was thinking in those personal terms. Any truth is universal. If we’d made our album in the third person and called it Freda and Ada or Tommy and had dressed up in clown suits with lipstick and created characters other than us, maybe a Ziggy Stardust, would it be more acceptable? It’s not our style of art; our life is our art… Anyway, in Bermuda, what suddenly dawned on me was everything I was taking for granted. Women really are the other half of the sky, as I whisper at the beginning of the song. And it just sort of hit me like a flood, and it came out like that. The song reminds me of a Beatles track, but I wasn’t trying to make it sound like that. I did it as I did Girl many years ago. So this is the grown-up version of Girl.
-John Lennon, 1980
It was a pleasure speaking with Jewel whose beauty resonates from the inside out. Her recently penned memoir Never Broken is candid and so graciously offers up the idea that choosing, thinking and being happy is a reality for us all. Accompanying the book is her latest album Picking Up the Pieces that takes you on a journey that blends the thoughts and soul of a young girl with the Jewel of present day. – Fresh Independence
Tell us about your memoir Never Broken…
I’ve often been asked in my life how I went from an abusive background, to moving out at 15, to being homeless, to turning things around. So I set out to talk about those things and answer that question. I knew at 15 when I moved out that girls like me end up becoming a statistic. That statistically a girl like me ends up in an abusive relationship, or on drugs, or in a ditch or on a pole – one of those things. I wanted to beat those odds. I had read a lot of philosophy and I read a lot of nature vs. nurture and I wanted to see if I could re nurture myself if I did not like the nurturing that I had received in my home. So I started on a scientific discovery to see if I could learn happiness if it wasn’t taught in my household. I studied nature and read a lot and I learned a lot and I think the most surprising thing for me in the book to express and talk about, was how being diligent and focused helped me a lot. But I didn’t avoid all the pain that I hoped to. I learned that you can’t avoid pain in life and the thing that kept me safe in life was not avoiding pain, but actually how I handled pain and how I transmuted pain and how it kept me resilient and undamaged from the amount of trauma that I went through in my life. There are very specific things that helped me and I talk about them in case they can help someone else. I wanted to be honest and transparent in the writing so that people could understand and feel what it meant to heal from it, and that it is possible.
You story is a soul filled with character – do you feel you were born with tools already or was it something you had to learn…
The self-titled debut Album is a pivotal composition of being on the flip side of a relationship. One doesn’t always understand until you have been there, but you have to push on and this album works through all emotions: sad and true. We don’t always know where to begin, but through sorrow is born great things and this was meant to happen to promote a heart work, relatable, and groundbreaking entrance.
At the end of the day isn’t this what music is all about: Picking yourself up, getting lost, and resonating with what feels right.
Midnight Pilot’s music just feels right.
Home is where your story begins, tell us a bit about yours?
Midnight Pilot: Grant, Kris and Kyle’s families all have original roots in the Pacific Northwest, specifically Seattle. Although we all moved to Iowa at a VERY young age (in fact some of us weren’t even born yet), we still have a piece of Seattle in our hearts. Grant, Kris and Kyle all grew up in Iowa for the early part of their life and then moved to Michigan in elementary school. Holland, Michigan has really been home for us for quite some time. We love it there. It is a beautiful part of the country filled with a bunch of quality people. We still frequently visit our families and friends there as well as playing some local shows. Meanwhile, Dustin, our keyboard player, spent his life in Grand Junction, CO. Very different from Holland, MI but still incredibly beautiful and also filled with amazing people. In 2013-2014 the entire band moved to Nashville, TN to get Midnight Pilot going on the right foot. It has proven to be a great choice for us, and we love it here.
How did, ‘Midnight Pilot’ and the name come to be?
Midnight Pilot: We actually have been playing music together for a very long time under a different name (Ringer T). When we relocated to Nashville, TN we decided that a name change would be a good way for us to kind of kick start this new beginning. After a crazy amount of time and energy spent going through name after name, Grant finally came across a World War II book called “Flyboys” where these fighter pilots where actually called “Midnight Pilots.” We liked the sound better of dropping the “s” and so we went with Midnight Pilot. Our look kind of has that retro feel to it and the sound reminds us of cruising… So we thought the name fit us well. Grant Geertsma sings, writes the songs, and plays mainly guitar. Kyle Schonewill plays Lead guitar as well as keys, trumpet, and percussion. Kris Schonewill plays Bass guitar. And Dustin Wise plays Organ and other key parts. We are currently in between drummers.
The self-titled debut lay it all on the table: Take us behind the creation of the Album and the heartbreak that cleansed your soul.
Grant: The inspiration behind the album was to really create something we felt fulfilled us musically. We have been making records for very long time and this one is kind of a culmination of the past decade of work we’ve done.