Jewel explains how she came around to pop music and how difficult this week's elimination was.

on Jul 28, 2011

Hello all!

How did you like hearing everyone's first solo-written song? I loved it!

The "Queen of Media" Perez Hilton stopped by to help with this week's challenge -- POP music.

I met Perez when I was promoting my pop album, "0304," and was impressed with how much he obviously loved music. He told me he had been to a bar show of mine way back when I was just starting out and he was just 16. Small world! His love for all things music is contagious. He loves all kinds of music, but he is unabashedly a pop fan.

Personally, I was slow to come to pop music. I didn't know I was writing pop music when I started out, and when someone suggested "You Were Meant For Me" and "Foolish Games" were pop songs, I cringed with a feeling of failure. I thought pop music was dumb, as I tended to listen to John Prine, Tom
Waits, Bob Dylan, and Merle Haggard types of writing. I had no idea that all the cover songs I grew up singing in bars with my dad, since age 8, were pop songs: "Brown Eyed Girl," "Heartbreak Hotel," "Takin' It Easy," and "Help Me Make It Through the Night." Pop simply meant a great melody and a streamlined concept. I guess, though I never listened to Madonna as a child, (that crush developed much later for me!) pop music slipped into my head through all the songs my dad and I sang and found its way into my music -- and what a blessing that was. Pop is a wide open format that includes everything from Elvis to Roy Orbison. And today's pop charts include everything from Nickleback to Eminem to Selena Gomez.

It was fun to let the high school kids judge the wining song. It must have felt pretty good to Sonyae to see all of them pointing to the exit and making their own little dance move on the first listen. That's huge. Tapping into a concept that's immediately digestible is so difficult, and that's what's great about writing pop music -- it's simplicity is deceiving, making it sound simple and obvious on the first listen is the hardest part of the craft.