Editor’s note: Pick up a copy of the Sunday, Aug. 31, edition of the Summit Daily News to read more about Wynonna Judd and Copper Country.
Despite Grammy, Emmy, Golden Globe and Oscar nominations, CableACE and ASCAP Awards and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, Kenny Loggins said if he were to give himself an award, it wouldn’t be for any particular song or soundtrack credit but for the trait that has carried him through his entire career.
“I think I should get an award for perseverance, that I continue to persevere at my art and continue to make music against all odds because I’m driven to artistically,” he said. “I don’t want to give that up because I know when I do I don’t feel good. So I know that the weight of feeling good in the world is to stay creative, stay in the studio, write a record, do what I love, so I persevere.”
Loggins will take the stage in Burning Stones Plaza as one of the headliners for the two-day Copper Country music festival on Saturday, Aug. 30, with his trio, Blue Sky Riders, opening. Five-time Grammy award winner Wynonna Judd and her band, The Big Noise, will anchor Sunday’s performances.
THE DIGITAL AGE
Blue Sky Riders, a country-rock group Loggins and Gary Burr formed with Georgia Middleman, unleashed its first album last year to rave reviews. Rather than partnering with a large studio for its second release, the band turned to crowd-funding site Kickstarter in an effort to more directly connect with its fans.
“I didn’t realize in the beginning what a strong connection Kickstarter would make, but the people who have jumped on and supported the making of the record and the band has begun to flesh out a larger audience for us,” Loggins said.
“The most important thing to come of it is the community, and right up there next to it is the funding of the making of the record and, hopefully, the continued connection with the audience. In today’s marketplace, we call that marketing, but it’s bigger than marketing. It’s not something being imposed on an audience; it’s something an audience is participating in.”
The project has helped the Blue Sky Riders connect with their audience and has allowed fans to be emotionally invested in the record through the different buy-in tiers. Donation levels range from pocket change for a social media shout out to $500 for an invite to the CD-release party to $1,200 for a chance to sing on a track on the next record specifically composed for group participation.
“Like the ending of ‘Hey Jude,’ something that people can participate in at whatever level they are of expertise,” Loggins said. “Everything from a Skype phone call to a virtual release party — people will participate on a computer connection, or they can actually come as our guest to the release party in Nashville or Santa Barbara — all the way from buying a T-shirt and pre-buying the next record all the way up to we’ll come to your home and play in your home.”
The top tier, with only one backer allowed, was a $10,000 buy-in for a private, in-home concert performed by the Blue Sky Riders.
“One guy started a Kickstarter campaign of his own to fund us coming to his apartment in Washington, D.C.,” Loggins said. “They bought chances in a lottery to be part of the audience in his apartment. There’s a lot of cross-pollination from one thing to another, and it’s been a lot of fun. It’s a whole other way of reaching an audience that I never had back in the days of Sony and Columbia.”
The campaign was an overwhelming success, with $21,797 pledged of the $85,000 goal when it was all said and done. Loggins said songs will be released digitally a few singles at a time until enough songs have been compiled to put out an album.
“We’ve written about six of them, and I imagine we’ll write 16 songs and put 12 on the record,” he said. “Our map is to release the record a couple of songs at a time. People are pretty much buying one or two songs at a time these days. We’ll write a bunch, record the best ones, write a bunch more, record those, release a couple at a time and release a whole record and package that as a physical copy, CDs.”
ON THE SILVER SCREEN
Loggins had been making music for more than a decade when “Caddyshack” burst on the scene in 1980 with “Lead the Way,” “Mr. Night” and the catchy hit “I’m Alright.” Despite the many movie hits that followed, from “Footloose” to “Top Gun” to “Caddyshack II,” Loggins said his first silver screen experience was his favorite.
“It was all brand new, and it was a huge surprise to see how well the movie did, and it was just very exciting to be a part of that film right from the very beginning,” he said.
Despite being nicknamed The King of Movie Soundtracks in the ’80s, there was at least one hit soundtrack Loggins missed out on.
“I was signed on to do a song for a movie that became a really big movie for Bruckheimer-Simpson called ‘Flashdance’ after ‘Footloose,’” he said. “I was going to do it and I had written a song for it, but my schedule couldn’t accommodate going into the studio and also going on the road. I had to go on the road in a couple of days from when I saw the screening, and I couldn’t figure out when I would get in there and record the song, so I had to pass on it.
“Within a few days of being on the road, I fell off a stage in Salt Lake City and broke three ribs and my tour was canceled. While I was recuperating at home, I finished the song and went into the studio to record it, and at the last minute, I cut it in the wrong key; I cut it too high and I couldn’t hit the high notes. So had to pass on putting the song in the movie. It would have been one more cult film from that era — musically that was a million-selling soundtrack.”
If Loggins’ own life had a soundtrack, he said the main theme would be titled “I’m Lucky Like That.”
“I’ve been an incredibly lucky person,” he said. “I’ve gotten to make music for my whole life and it’s taken good care of me. It’s my passion and continues to be. People still pay me to sing, so that’s a pretty lucky life. I’ve had two wives; both marriages have gone well as long as they could. I’ve got five children out of it; they’re all great and doing great, so I’m pleased with how things have gone, but I have to say it’s a pretty lucky one so far.”
“I know that the weight of feeling good in the world is to stay creative, stay in the studio, write a record, do what I love, so I persevere.”