April 30th, 2012
11:57 AM ET
Before rising to international fame, singer/songwriter Jewel faced some tough times.
The 37-year-old mom says she experienced both homelessness and hunger, and is grateful to those who saw something in her when she couldn't see it for herself.
"It was really hard for me to ever think that I was special when I was homeless," she told CNN in a recent interview. "I was writing things, I was writing songs, but I didn't think that they were that good. The fact that someone believed in me or thought that my life was special meant a lot to me, because I didn't know how to value it.”
As a result, Jewel gives back through her involvement with the “Child Hunger Ends Here” campaign, knowing firsthand the impact that kind of outreach can have.
“People helped me," the singer said. "They didn't know me. They didn't owe me anything. They would just give me food.They'd give me $5 for food. That not only helped feed me but it gave me hope."
Jewel was eventually discovered performing in a coffeehouse, and she tells up-and-coming talent not to discredit the importance of singing live when just starting out.
“To me, the most important thing if you want to get discovered isn't rubbing elbows with celebrities," Jewel said. "It's being great. So you need to cut your teeth, and you need to sing live and you need to be great. And if you're great, people will start to listen."
Thanks to Jewel and all of our iReporters for submitting questions!
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