NEW ORLEANS — Singer-songwriter Jewel has penned numerous lyrics empowering women after heartbreak and loss, and now she hopes to do the same for breast cancer survivors.
Jewel's latest song, "Flower," was written to raise awareness about the importance of breast reconstruction options for breast cancer survivors. The singer is heading to New Orleans next month to perform "Flower" and other hits at a benefit concert for the cause.
"Reconstruction is a huge part of the healing process," Jewel told The Associated Press. "It's not just vanity. It's a part of what makes us women. It's a part of our identity as women. Patients should at least be informed about their options."
Jewel said she originally wrote "Flower" years ago as a relationship-based song. It was never released, but it was about empowering women.
"The chorus in that song kept coming back to me, and I thought it was so fitting for this cause, so I rewrote the lyrics for these women," she said.
The chorus compares a woman battling cancer to "a flower pushing up through concrete to thrive."
Jewel shot to fame in 1996 with her self-written breakout hit, "Who Will Save Your Soul," and has had success in pop and country genres with hits like "Stronger Woman," ''Foolish Games," ''You Were Meant For Me," ''Hands," ''Stand" and "Intuition."
She said she was surprised to hear a lot of breast cancer survivors are not informed about their breast reconstruction options, even though reconstruction is now considered a medically necessary part of breast cancer treatment that is covered by Medicare and most major insurance providers.
"There should be a plastic surgeon involved from the very beginning," she said. "We have to be our own advocates."
Jewel is the national spokeswoman for the Beast Reconstruction Awareness (BRA) campaign and has partnered with the American Society of Plastic Surgeons and the Plastic Surgery Foundation to raise awareness and money for breast reconstruction-related research and to the charitable care of breast reconstruction patients.
Proceeds generated by downloads of "Flower" on iTunes or Amazon.com will benefit the effort, as will proceeds from the Oct. 29 concert at the New Orleans Theater in the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center.
Tickets for the concert go on sale Friday.
Jewel says she's always considered herself an advocate for women but since becoming a mother last summer to her now 1-year-old son, Kase, "I'm an even bigger fan of women."
Kase is the first child for Jewel and her champion bull rider husband, Ty Murray. They live on a ranch in Stephenville, Texas.
"Becoming a mom, I gained so much more respect for women and what they go through," she said.
Motherhood has also inspired new work: Jewel wrote and recorded two soothing child-friendly albums — "Lullaby" and "The Merry Goes 'Round." On Sept. 18, she's releasing a children's book called "That's What I'll Do," which will include a CD accompaniment of a song by the same title.
"It's a love song I wrote for my son," she said. "It's one I sing to him every night. It's a creative, fanciful, whimsical way of telling him all the ways that I love him, and it's a song I thought other parents would enjoy sharing with their children."
On the Net:
Breast Reconstruction Awareness Day, http://www.bradayusa.org