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Singer-songwriter Jewel takes Vegas, starting with One Night for One Drop

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A sneak peak at the sixth annual One Night for One Drop with singer-songwriter Jewel at the Michael Jackson ONE Theater in Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas. Wed. Feb 14, 2018.
Photo: Christopher DeVargas

Anybody else notice Las Vegas has been getting a whole lot of Jewel lately? The singer and songwriter has been hanging out Downtown with Tony Hsieh and popping up at events like Nevada Ballet Theatre’s recent Black & White Ball, and now she has gigs booked at Wynn’s Encore Theater March 30 and 31.

This weekend, she’s starring in Cirque du Soleil’s annual One Night for One Drop show, a benefit that has raised $30 million since 2013 to provide safe water in vulnerable communities around the world—and the show is based on her life.

So what’s with all the Vegas lately? I’ve been friends with Tony at Zappos for a while and started working on a start-up with him and coming to Vegas a lot, and I just sort of fell in love with the town. I’ve been living out at Lake Las Vegas, which I really love. And when I found out Cirque was doing [One Night for One Drop], because my charity is also a water charity, I just got curious and ended up volunteering my life story and three months of my time for a great cause.

What’s it going to be like to perform with Cirque artists flying around behind you? Seeing my life story portrayed by these artists [writers and directors] Nicky and Laetitia [Dewhurst], and not even done with words but literally just with movement, it’s been like a peyote-journey spirit trip. It’s been incredible. I’ve always been protective of my story … but I really felt like Cirque is very uniquely qualified to talk about these themes in a very metaphorical way.

They didn’t try to put you on a trapeze? They did ask me at one point if I flew. Only in airplanes.

Are you going to do something different for your Wynn shows? Doing those shows gives me an opportunity to think outside my normal format. The title is “Hits, Muses and Mentors,” so I’m thinking of what made me write “Who Will Save Your Soul,” between Merle Haggard and [Charles] Mingus and all these influences that caused me to construct melodies. It’s not going to be technical and turn into a music class, but I actually get to sing. I never sing with tremendous focus on my voice, because my focus has been storytelling, as a songwriter, not showing off my vocals. So this gives me the opportunity to stretch out and sing a lot of the songs I cut my teeth on that influenced how I write and how I sing.

ONE NIGHT FOR ONE DROP March 2, 7:30 p.m., $125-$325. Michael Jackson One Theatre, Mandalay Bay, onenight.onedrop.org.

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Brock Radke

Brock Radke has been writing about Las Vegas for almost two decades. He currently serves as editor-at-large covering entertainment and ...

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