Now 13 years into her career, 34-year-old pop singer Jewel is attracting a new audience of fans, this time in Country music.  VOA's Mary Morningstar has this report on Jewel's latest album, Perfectly Clear.

Jewel says she's been writing Country songs all her life, yet Perfectly Clear is her first album aimed at a Country audience.

In 1995, Jewel was signed to Atlantic Records, which dropped her in 2007 after disappointing sales of her album Goodbye Alice In Wonderland.  Her first album, Pieces Of You, sold 12 million copies to become one of the biggest-selling debut releases of all time.  During her 13 years with Atlantic Records, Jewel sold a total of 27 million albums worldwide.  They produced such pop hits as ""Who Will Save Your Soul", "You Were Meant For Me," and "Hands."  

Jewel feels her turn of direction toward Country music was a natural progression in her career.  She lists Merle Haggard, Kris Kristofferson and Loretta Lynn among her musical influences.  And, five of her six studio albums were recorded in Nashville.  Scott Borchetta, who heads one of the city's top independent labels, Big Machine Records, offered Jewel a multi-album deal on his second label, Valory Records.   "She's one of the best singer-songwriters in any genre," Steve says.

Jewel wrote or co-wrote all but one track on Perfectly Clear.  Her recent Top 20 Country hit, "Stronger Woman," deals with female empowerment.   "I wrote it for a lot of women and for myself.  If something's wrong with my life, I need to fix it.  You don't wait around.  Nobody owes you anything.  It's up to you," she explains.

Perfectly Clear entered Billboard's Country albums chart at Number One and the Billboard 200 at Number 8.  

Jewel plans to keep very busy in the coming months.  She's performing on Brad Paisley's U.S. summer tour, and is a judge on Country music's television talent competition, "Nashville Star."  Helping her choose this year's "Nashville Star" winner are songwriter Jeffrey Steele and John Rich of the popular duo Big and Rich, who co-produced Perfectly Clear.