Last week, we shared the first part of our exclusive interview with singer and songwriter Jewel about her decision to visit her family’s Alaskan homestead for the first time in six years. This week, the multi-Grammy nominee previews her adventures and the memories that she and her son Kase brought home from Alaska. The two episodes that feature Jewel and Kase’s visit to the Kilcher family homestead on Alaska: the Last Frontier will air Sunday, Dec. 4 as part of Discovery’s Mega Week.
Plus, the singer teases something very special that she and her family are working on this holiday season.
What did it mean for you to get to spend this amazing time with your family?
It meant a lot to share it with my son and let my dad spend that kind of quality time in nature with my son teaching him how to look for tracks and how to be a good leader on a trail and leave signs for the people behind. Things like that. It was just incredible.
It’s like my son and I practically had different vacations. He stayed overnight with my dad every single night we were there. It’s hilarious.
One of the moments I thought that was really charming was a fairytale birthday party in that hidden glen. Kase says something that’s wise beyond his years, “This is a really special birthday. I’ll never forget it.” Is that what you wanted to give to him, something he’d never forget?
Kase has always had a very poetic little soul. I’ve always been very fascinated with the way he talks and how thoughtful and kind of poetic he is. I’m kind of glad some of that came through on the TV show. He’s kept true to his word. He certainly has kept remembering it. So he’s always asking when we get to go back.
Since he’s asking to go back, have you started thinking about when that’ll be?
We’ll probably do it during the summer. I can’t say let’s winter the whole time up there. We live in Telluride for the winters so I mean we’ll probably stick there where it’s a little sunnier and still get the mountains.
While in Alaska, you participated in a cattle drive. Tell us about that.
I grew up working cattle with my dad. I was kind of the one that really enjoyed working cattle and a lot of the outdoor chores, whereas my older brother often was the one who would cook. I like Alaska. It doesn’t really have these male/female roles that often the South has these very divided roles where the men do this, and the women do that. It’s all kind of intermixed in Alaska and I’ve always really liked that about it. So it was kind of fun for me just to get to be able to help Akaky out up there at the Head of the Bay and pitch in. I don’t think I was ever off of a horse my entire childhood.
You seemed very comfortable in the saddle. You said it’d been a long time since you and your dad drove cattle. Was it different now that you’re an adult?
Not particularly. My dad and I have always had a pretty good working relationship. Definitely learned a lot since then. My ex-husband was also a really great cowboy, and I learned a lot about natural horsemanship and cattle from him as well.
You spoke about some of the great memories that Kase is bringing back from Alaska. What are some memories that you brought back?
Just some of the joy Kase had. Seeing him really enjoying nature and the pace, the slower pace of nature. It’s a lot.
Music is so much a part of your family’s life. Did you write any music on your visit?
It was a short visit up there so I didn’t really have time to write at all. But I do find it always goes in me and comes out some other time.
The Kilcher Family Holiday Special
I know that you’re excited about something that you and your family are working on; what can you tell us?
My whole family will be on a Christmas show with me on CBS during the daytime on Christmas Day. We’ll be singing songs and kind of exchanging handmade gifts and things like that. So, I’m happy to have people look out for that.
What’s the title of that special?
I don’t know yet. We just got the time slot and so we’re just planning it right now. I don’t know. It will probably be something like Jewel’s Family or Family Heirloom Christmas. I have no idea. [laughs]
Is Kase following in your family’s musical traditions?
He hasn’t really shown a huge interest so far. He sings and has been learning to yodel and he sings with me here and there, but he honestly has never really been to many of my shows, because I sing at night and I always put him to bed. We’ll see as he gets a little bit older.
And the music that you’re singing, is that stuff that you and your dad have written or are they traditional Christmas songs?
They’ll be traditional songs and then my dad will write a song especially for this. We’ll exchange a bunch of homemade gifts.
That’s one of the things that’s always been amazing about your family on Alaska: The Last Frontier, the care that people put into the gifts that they give to each other. Does that put pressure on you that you can’t go out and buy gifts for each other?
We never really had the money and frankly we never really valued it. It was much more touching to get something somebody made whatever it was. I remember just painting rocks as a kid. You know for my dad. Things like that or writing a poem. I loved that.
To this day is that something you prefer, to get something that’s handmade and heartfelt?
Alaska: the Last Frontier: “The Monster Catch” and “When Cows Attack” > Discovery > Sunday, Dec. 4 at 9pm ET/PT, 8pm CT