This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," October 2, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Well, the stars are up or on the record, singer-songwriter Jewel went from being homeless and living in her car to being a music sensation. Her latest CD is called "Lullaby." But music is not the only the Jewel does with her life.
VAN SUSTEREN: First, I want to talk about your extraordinary life from Homer, Alaska to an extraordinary music success. How did you do it?
JEWEL, SINGER-SONGWRITER: It's amazing. My life has amazed me. (INAUDIBLE) you know, going from a really small, rural ranch community in Alaska to where I am now is pretty remarkable.
VAN SUSTEREN: And Homer, Alaska, we know has a population of about 5,000, and things were rough for you, weren't they?
JEWEL: Yes, my family was really poor. But luckily the land provided for us but we lived off of the land, so we never grocery shopped, in bulk, you know. Temperature meat (INAUDIBLE) in the fall, and canning salmon and jamming, making our own butter, sort of a self-sustained lifestyle. Living in the city was harder when we were that poor.
VAN SUSTEREN: When you were a little girl, did you expect or ever dreamed that your life would be what it has now evolved to.
JEWEL: You know, I turn to writing to help me. I sort of had a troubled childhood, and writing really helped me and helped relieved any pressure. I think it's why I never turned to drugs. Thankfully. And then when I was homeless when I was 18, I just kept writing, to help myself, and began writing songs because of that. I never dreamed that it will lead to a career or that other people would actually like my music, much less feel helped by my music.
VAN SUSTEREN: When you were in high school, you went to Interlochen, in Michigan before you became homeless. How did you end up Interlochen, which has a wonderful fine arts school. But how did you go from Homer, Alaska to Interlochen, Michigan, as a young girl?
JEWEL: I moved out when I was 15. To get work I was cleaning a dance studio in Homer, and a dance teacher came through during a seminar who taught at a school called Interlochen, and I told him I sang, and he helped me apply for a scholarship. So I got a full scholarship amazingly to go to this really fancy very prestigious art school.
VAN SUSTEREN: And the school is fancy school, very prestigious and develops wonderful talents but when you got out, you ended up homeless. What happened?
JEWEL: Didn't go to college, ended up in San Diego to help a sick relative. I had a job answering phones at a computer warehouse but my boss took me aside one day to have a talk with me and I realized half way through the talk he was propositioning me. When I turned him down, he wouldn't give me my pay check and so I couldn't pay my rent.
I was kicked out of where I was living. Didn't have enough money saved for, you know, a deposit on a new place. So I thought I'll just live in my car until I get a new job, save up, get back on my feet but I ended up getting sick kidneys at the time and never was able to get back on my feet and was homeless for about a year.
VAN SUSTEREN: And you actually live in your car or lived on the street?
JEWEL: I lived in my car, which ended up getting stolen, which was terrible, and I had kidney problems at the time, and actually almost died in a parking lot of a hospital, because I did not have insurance. It was just a really tough situation. I went back to singing and ended up getting discovered while I was homeless.
VAN SUSTEREN: That was what I was going to ask you. And the extraordinary thing, with all you stamina and perseverance, your singing. How did you get discovered? What happened?
JEWEL: You know, I built up a local following. I sang at this little place called "The Interchange" every Thursday night. Got a really great local following. They bring me books to read, bring me food. And sort of help me get by and a record label heard about me and started driving to see me in this tiny little coffee shop.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right. So now, you could just be - well, we certainly think part of the celebrity culture, go living in a fancy house, live in California, do all these stuff. But you in turn, you're doing something different.
You are doing "Project Clean Water." You want to use your celebrity and your name to help. So you got to tell the viewers, what is "Project Clean Water" and why this?
JEWEL: I founded "Project Clean Water" in 1997. While I was homeless, and I had those sick kidneys, and I had to drink a gallon of clean water a day, and it was too expensive for me to afford, and I thought if we're buying bottled water in America, what it must be like in other third world countries? So I thought if I ever get in a position to help, I swore I would.
And amazingly, I did get into a position to help. In '97, formed "Project Clean Water." We put about 15 wells or 35 wells in about 15 different countries since then. And then recently we just partnered with Voss Foundation and Virgin Unite and we're starting an initiative called "Give A Drop" campaign where we can get clean water to different villages.
VAN SUSTEREN: How serious of a problem is it? Because you know, here in America, we're pretty lucky, we just go to the faucet and turn it on. So, you know, it's like clean water may not seem a serious problem to many people because we're really lucky but how serious a problem is it worldwide?
JEWEL: It's a huge problem. It takes over a billion people - about 5,000 children die a day of water borne related illnesses. It's an epic problem. You know, very quietly all the clean water sources are getting bought up around the world, and even in America, we live in a very clean country where we do have clean water coming out of our faucets, but we don't drink it. We tend to buy bottled water. So it's really a problem.
VAN SUSTEREN: So if people want to read about it, where should they go? Is there a web site? Do you have a Web site where we can read more about it.
JEWEL: Yes. You can go to my Web site, which is jeweljk.com and click on the "Project Clean Water" tab. There is also a texting campaign, which is really easy. You can just text drop to 85944 and then reply yes. And instantly a $5 donation will go toward building these well and this village in (INAUDIBLE).
VAN SUSTEREN: We are very much appreciative of all that you do. Thanks very much. And continue the good work. Thank you.
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