The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, May 30, 2006 - 11
At 15, Cheyenne
is going strong
By Andrew Kahn
Daily Arts Writer
Winning a Grammy, appearing on the cover of Roll-
ing Stone, hosting an episode of Saturday Night Live:
And those are just three of Cheyenne Kimball's goals.
Lofty expectations for someone who hasn't even cele-
brated her 16th birthday. But for the singer/songwriter
from Frisco, Texas, achieving these goals doesn't seem
all that improbable.
In fact, with a major-label record deal, a country-wide
tour under her belt and her own TV show debuting later
this week on MTV, Cheyenne (as she's known to her
fans) has a legitimate shot at reaching these milestones
earlier than even she could have imagined.
But is it too much for a 15 year old to handle?
"It becomes overwhelming when I think of the fact
that everything's happening right now," Cheyenne said
with a laugh during a phone interview. "I've been work-
ing on my music for eight years now, and sometimes
people tell me, 'Oh, you got famous overnight,' but it
really took eight years to be able to get this album out.
It didn't happen overnight."
A 15-year-old about to release an album is considered
a phenom. But perhaps even more impressive, is that
Cheyenne began writing songs at eight years old, when
she picked up a guitar and taught herself to play (left-
handed, in fact).
At 12, Cheyenne was declared "America's Most Tal-
ented" kid on a nationally televised NBC program. It
was right about then when Sony/Epic became interested
and offered her a contract. Since then, she has devel-
oped her own style, which she calls "block," a combina-
tion of blues and rock.
Now, using her powerful vocals, Cheyenne is able
to turn everyday experiences into hit songs. "'Hanging
On,' my first single, is about having just a really bad
day and making the best of it - just laughing about
it," she explained. While the upcoming album, The Day
Has Come (due July 11), is full of her experiences deal-
ing with normal teenage girl issues, she hopes the music
itself will be appreciated by all ages.
Fans will be able to get inside Cheyenne's life by
watching her self-titled newseries on MTV, which will
debut Wednesday at 10:30 p.m. "(Cheyenne's) just about
my life, just being a 15-year-old girl in this music busi-
ness and the stresses of it, and also trying to establish
myself as a credible musician."
And if Cheyenne's next 15 years are anything like her
first 15, she'll have no problem attaining the credibility
"I'm more blonde and beautiful than that punk chick on the right."
The same olshine
By Ted Chen
Daily Arts Writer
After more than a decade since
her debut Pieces Of You, Jewel is
hardly the rare
gem she used to Jewel
be. Through the
years, each of her Gooodbye Alice
new albums have in Wonderland
done progres- Atlantic Records
sively poorer in
the marketplace than their prede-
cessors, and her movie career didn't
exactly take off, either. Now on her
sixth album, Jewel's Goodbye Alice
In Wonderland has a few winners
but is still marked by the medioc-
rity that sunk her previous efforts.
To her credit, her voice hasn't
deteriorated, and her lyrics are still
more meaningful than most.
What's changed are the enormous
expectations that now weigh in on
her. Although her numerous Gram-
my and American Music Award
nominations came in the late '90s,
one would expect her latest album
- which has been three years in the
making - to capitalize on her enor-
At least Jewel valiantly attempts
to return to her trademark soul-
bearing songs in this album. To
mix it up, some pop-style elements
still linger from her previous album
0304, and to top it off, the album
is punctuated with a subtle country-
"Again and Again," the only track
released as a single, starts off the
album and is one of the few note-
worthy items. Longtime fans will
recognize the identifiable soft-rock
and introspective style that elevated
her earlier efforts. Fused with some
pop elements, it's the best of both
The flagship song "Goodbye
Alice in Wonderland" is exactly
what the name implies - a person
disillusioned with juvenile ideals
about love and the world. The raw
power of the tune lies in Jewel's sin-
gular voice; the song rightly focuses
on getting the words through, and
Jewel's raspy vocals are perfectly
suited for the number. This could
very well be the antithesis and
future successor of her best single
"You Were Meant for Me."
Another track that can perhaps
remind the listener of Jewel's talent
is "Drive To You," a slick combina-
tion of isolated strengths from her
better songs. It has a fast - but not
too fast - tempo, a catchy rhythm
with wonderful vocals and lyrics to
make it the landmine that old fans
have been searching for.
But the fun stops just about there.
Songs like "Long Slow Slide," "Last
Dance Rodeo" and "Where You Are"
are as ordinary as pebbles on the
beach. Slow paced and harmonious in
voice and instrumentation, these songs
aren't exactly a pain to listen to - they
simply put the listener to sleep.
Jewel fans who have sampled her
best work will want to pick this
up because she hasn't lost her old
charm, but first-time listeners may
need more convincing. To sustain
her longevity, Jewel needs to keep
to the old, tried-and-tested formu-
las that made her popular. After all,
some of the oldest things are also
the most valuable.
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