Join us for this episode of the Good Tidings podcast, with host Larry Harper—founder of the Good Tidings Foundation. This podcast is all about highlighting the good in people and what individuals are doing to make an impact in this world for the benefit of others, in order to inspire a community of givers! Today, Larry invites Grammy-Winning Singer/Songwriter & Guitarist Kenny Loggins.
Kenny and Larry both grew up outside of Los Angeles, California. Kenny was born in Seattle, though and his father moved the family to Southern California when he was very young so the kids could play outside more. Growing up, he was interested in music and playing guitar. His passion for music was inspired heavily by The Beatles as well as Bob Dylan, and later folk artists like James Taylor. Kenny wrote the classic song, Danny’s Song for his brother Danny at the birth of his first son. Instead of studying for high school finals, he wrote another great song – House at Pooh Corner.
Kenny says he was shy, so writing in his room was his way of self-expression. He didn’t start playing his songs for people until college when he met other players. Playing at parties helped him meet other musicians, and also girls. That helped him get out of his shyness and begin making music more seriously. His musical style evolved and included influence from R&B, folk, and rock along with many other genres. Kenny has been referred to as the King of Soundtracks for movies like Top Gun, Footloose and Caddyshack. The writing process for both movies and his independent work is both fulfilling and difficult.
Larry asks Kenny about the emotional connection listeners have to his songs. For a lot of people, his new song Great Adventure is a piece they have a strong emotional connection with. It was written specifically for the San Diego Zoo Kids Channel, which brings wildlife-themed programs to medical facilities serving sick children and their families. For Larry, it’s Whenever I Call You Friend that brings him back to his youth and playing the song on a loop at car shows. Kenny wants to continue reaching people with his songs and voice. To do so, he’s had to stay in vocal shape and works with a coach. He works with Ken Stacey in LA to maintain his high notes and the quality of his tone.
Larry and Kenny met when Good Tidings was looking to partner with a musician on a community project. They wanted to have a performer do a charity concert and then Good Tidings would build a music studio in their name. It wasn’t as easy to do as Larry initially thought, until he met Kenny. Kenny was immediately up for it and dove straight in, because of his work two Kenny Loggins music studios were built at the Santa Barbara Boys and Girls Club with Notes for Notes. Kenny explains giving back is part of his ethos as an artist. Mentoring young musicians and artists is important to him, and he works with many young local artists. He loves watching talent grow and emerge.
Throughout his career, Kenny has had an interest in children’s music and books. The early years of childhood are precious, and he used to sing a bedtime song to his children. His first album is taken from the songs he sang to his daughter Bella when she was a child. In addition to his music and interest in children’s art, Kenny is a long time philanthropist. He is a strong partner of Unity Shoppe in Santa Barbara where people in need can come shop for the things they may need at no cost. In addition to the work he does with Unity Shoppe, Kenny has been a strong environmentalist, which he attributes to his Pacific Northwest upbringing. His song Convention of the Heart has long been the unofficial anthem of the environmentalism movement. “It’s not until you see we’re all connected that you can really care deeply about the earth”.
Kenny’s advice to students and artists is to follow the fun and songs that last forever tell the truth. On his musical bucket list is the idea of making another Christmas record and a TV show in the style of Andy Williams. He also hopes to be going on tour by the end of 2021.
Don’t forget to subscribe to the Good Tidings podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts!