Grammy artist Kenny Loggins is a good man.
He’s also led a pretty good life.
So it’s only fitting that he’s co-headlining The Good Life Festival at Encanterra in San Tan Valley with Michael McDonald in April.
That’s two icons for the price of one—a term Loggins is only starting to get used to.
“Over these past two years, I’ve noticed the so-called ‘iconic’ has been attached to my name,” Loggins says. “I sense a different level of awe and respect from all ages. It mostly feels good, because it has been a long road, but at times it can be a little irritating and make it difficult to make deeper connections and friendships.
“But I’m not complaining.”
Nor should he. Loggins has earned the title with 12 platinum albums, multiple awards and songs on almost all the Billboard charts.
His remarkable four-decade-plus career has brought him from the top of the charts to the toast of the Grammys. He’s had smash hits on Hollywood’s favorite soundtracks, rocked worldwide stages, and has transcended his sound across generations to a variety of genres. And he did it uncommon ease.
He wrote his first song at 17, and his first hits, “Danny’s Song” and “House at Pooh Corner,” a year later while still in high school.
“They kind of poured out effortlessly,” Loggins said. “The innocence of youth.”
In his early 20s, he formed Loggins & Messina with Jim Messina, a former member of Buffalo Springfield and Poco. The prolific recording and touring duo released a studio album every year from 1971 to 1976, and sold 16 million records.
Loggins says he learned from that rushed period it was best to take things slow.
“I learned that I could perform under pressure, and that it was better if I didn’t,” Loggins says. “Unless something huge was happening in my life to draw from, I found it was better to take my time and gather more experiences before writing an entire album or CD.”
His first album, 1977’s “Celebrate Me Home” coincided with Fleetwood Mac’s legendary “Rumors,” and found himself an opening act on that tour, going from playing large rooms to arenas almost overnight. It could have been a daunting task for any artist, but Loggins found it inspirational.
“I learned a lot by having to work past the first 20 rows of Stevie Nicks fans,” Loggins quips.
Speaking of Nicks, he credits the songbird with helping to launch his solo career when she sang co-lead vocals on 1978’s Top 5 smash, “Whenever I Call You Friend” on his “Nightwatch” album.
He kept the momentum going when he pulled up for a songwriting session at Michael McDonald’s house and heard the opening melody of “What A Fool Believes.”
“I was unloading my guitar from the trunk of my car and I could hear Michael going over his song ideas through an open front door,” Loggins recalls. “He played the melody of the first eight bars and stopped suddenly. But my imagination kept going on into the bridge. I knocked on the door, we said hi, shook hands, and then I said, ‘Play that little piece you were just playing. I have an idea of how the next part goes.’ So, I like to say that we were writing together before we met.”
The pair won Best Song Grammy in 1979. The following year they picked up a second Grammy for “This Is It,” off Loggins’ third consecutive platinum album, “Keep The Fire.”
The hits kept coming the following decade, mostly from movie soundtracks. “I’m Alright” from 1980’s “Caddyshack,” the title song from “Footloose” and “Top Gun’s” “Danger Zone” were all monster hits.
“It was a couple of years of grace,” Loggins says of that period. “The movie soundtrack pieces helped me do an end-around the disco era.”
With his iconic status firmly cemented, the only running he does these days is from the recording studio to stage.
“I feel very lucky that this is the way I make my living, and not a lot of people can say that,” Loggins says. “I’ve been lucky that I love what I do and I get to keep doing it.”
And that’s a pretty good life.
Kenny Loggins and Michael McDonald, The Good Life Festival at Encanterra, 36460 N. Encanterra Drive, San Tan Valley, 888.856.3727, thegoodlifefest.com, 5:30 p.m. Saturday, April 8, $40-$70.