Kenny Loggins Plots Return to Children's Music: Watch Exclusive 'Penn Zero Part-Time Hero' Clip

Kenny Loggins
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Kenny Loggins performs at the Beverly Hills Bar Association's Entertainment Lawyer of the Year Dinner at Beverly Hills Hotel on April 16, 2014 in Beverly Hills, California.

Kenny Loggins may have returned to Pooh Corner more than two decades ago, but the singer/songwriter known as much for his big '80s anthems as his softer side is planning a return, once more, to children's music.

"It's the direction I want to take the rest of my career," he tells Billboard. "It's very comfortable for me; I feel very confident in that arena and I know what's needed. Right from the beginning I saw that most children's music is just unlistenable, and my goal was to make a record the parents would love as much as the children."

Return to Pooh Corner, released in 1994, hit sales of more than 2 million. Loggins is hoping for fresh success with two new projects for the kinder set: his first uptempo kids album, All Join In, which he made with former Disney Records president David Agnew, and a collection of lullabies that includes a new treatment of "Danny's Song," his hit with Jim Messina that also became a top 10 charting cover for Anne Murray.

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He's currently shopping both to labels. "My hope is to place the uptempo record and the lullaby record and maybe get a third-record deal."

Helping him reacclimate to a younger audience, Loggins performs five songs on a new episode of the Disney XD animated series Penn Zero Part-Time Hero (see clip below), which airs Friday, July 24. He'll also have a song in an episode of Disney's Phineas and Ferb that airs in September.

Although he didn't write the Disney television material, the songs have a distinct Loggins vibe, and the artist says he jumped on the chance to get back into the cartoon realm. He notably went animated last spring parodying himself on FX animated series Archer, whose story arc incorporated multiple references to his Top Gun soundtrack hit "Danger Zone."

Penn Zero writer Jeff Poliquin and composer Ryan Shore "heard I was amenable to ideas about animation, so when they wrote this piece they imagined an '80s kind of vibe to the music so they wrote it in a style I would be able to relate to -- and I did," Loggins says. "I would of course prefer to be a co-writer on the songs so they'd be even more in my style. I thought they sounded more like a hair-band version of me."

Which, as it turns out, is not a bad thing. "In animation there's a character you get to be. When I did the Archer stuff I got to be an alter-ego, bad-boy version of myself. That's a cross-brain kind of thing, something no one would expect me to do," Loggins says. "I love that element of surprise. It keeps people going, 'What's he up to now?'"

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Aside from wrapping up a second album he wrote and performs with the ensemble Blue Sky Riders, Loggins is up to some additional television work. He's guesting as himself on the Aug. 4 episode of USA Network comedy Playing House, which includes yet another Loggins story line carried out by characters played by Jessica St. Clair and Lennon Parham.

"They do a lot of their own writing, so we messed with the dialog together to make it even more of what I would actually say," he says. "And when we got around to singing 'Celebrate Me Home' we just goofed a lot and they were singing along. They're very sweet."

Loggins is also trawling around for additional voiceover and animation work. "The deeper I can position my brand into the children's area, the more it helps get me in a position to make more children's music." 

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