Ever since breaking onto the pop scene with her 1994 hit, "Stay (I Missed You)," Loeb has spent the past decade maintaining an eclectic and evolving list of career moves. Movie roles? Check. Cartoon voiceovers? Check. Outreach project aimed toward helping kids? Yep. Reality show? Two of them. Eyewear fashion line? Of course.
Far from being overworked and overbooked, Loeb, now 43, insists in a recent phone interview last week, "I've been following my heart and doing lots of different projects based on what I love to do. There are a lot of projects happening, but luckily they all fit together in a complex little puzzle and support each other."
Luckily for fans, her heart is still very much musically inclined. With "Stay," Loeb became the only musician to have a No. 1 song on the Billboard 100 chart before being signed to a major label; a total of five full-length albums followed. Despite a long career, Loeb maintains that she's still the same artist. "It always comes back to songs with lyrics," she says, "Sometimes they're more poetic, sometimes they're more straightforward. I was practicing the other day, playing some songs that aren't out yet and some that I wrote in college. They felt like the same body of work. I'm not one of those people who totally reinvents myself."
She is also not someone who shies away from a challenge, or a new form of music. Loeb explains, "I had an opportunity to make a kid's record, Catch the Moon, and there were a lot of kids and parents asking me about a follow-up album. I ended up making a Camp Lisa record and starting a Camp Lisa Foundation to send kids to summer camp. That led to a theater company in Miami asking if we would write a musical based on Camp Lisa." Camp Kappawanna opened in Miami last summer, with a new version on stage this summer.
Loeb embraced the world of children's entertainment and a book, Silly Sing-Along: The Disappointing Pancake and Other Zany Songs, a collection of songs and activities, coming out in October. "They're activities you can do in your car, at the kitchen table." Loeb says, "It's getting back to simpler times, which is nice. It's fun because it takes kids and families away from the computer and into each other's company."
But of course, Loeb has not left her grownup fans behind. She is working on another "grownup record" and touring select venues on the East Coast this summer, plus special Stage-It online shows she'll be performing from her kitchen. She says, "I'm going to be playing some new songs, some older songs, lots of requests from fans. I've gotten used to doing a show where I'll hold your hand and take you through it. So if you don't know my music, I think you'll be at ease. And if you do know my music, you'll be happy to hear some old and new songs."
And even if you only know her No. 1 hit, don't worry — Loeb still has a deep amount of gratitude for the song that launched her career. "I love playing it. I think it connects people to me and me to them, and it reminds them of a certain time in their lives," Loeb says, "I'm also a music fan. I don't really want to go see a band play a whole set of new songs. As a musician, it's fun to play all the new songs and try to show them off, but as an audience member, you really want to hear songs that you're familiar with, so I try to respect that."
$38-53, 8 p.m., July 26, Infinity Hall, 20 Greenwoods Road, Norfolk, (860) 542-5531, infinityhall.com