Lisa Loeb New Album No Fairy Tale

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It’s been almost 20 years since the release of her smash hit, but Lisa Loeb just couldn’t “stay” away from the pop rock scene any longer. The singer released her new album, No Fairy Tale, in January.

“I’d been working on a couple of grown up projects — writing songs for two different records — but the projects were going on for a long time,” Loeb, 44, tells PEOPLE.

But a phone call from New Found Glory‘s Chad Gilbert gave Loeb the push she needed to return to the recording studio and make the magic happen. “Chad was more immediate. ‘You wanna do this record? Let’s start now,’ not, ‘Let’s plan and start talking,’” she says.

“As soon as he could, we got together and going through some of my songs I’d written recently and writing [our own].”

Loeb’s long absence, however, has been filled with plenty of chart-topping moments in her personal life, including her marriage to Roey Hershkovitz and the births of the couple’s two children, Lyla Rose, 3, and Emet Kuli, 8 months.

Paired with the launch of her eyewear collection and her decision to branch out into the children’s market — she’s written a kids book and recorded two kiddie albums — Loeb has been busy keeping up with it all, but still manages to find time to tune into the music industry.

“He works in music on Conan. He has a lot of access to seeing all the new bands, so sometimes I’ll pop over there and see something going on,” she explains. “But when you wake up at six in the morning with a baby, the idea of staying out until 2 a.m. is not really practical.”

Fortunately, her toddler‘s taste in music is yet another opportunity for Loeb to reconnect with the rocker realm. “My daughter’s favorite bands are the Foo Fighters and Led Zeppelin,” the mom-of-two says, adding that Lyla “listens to what we listen to” — under one condition.

“Some songs that are sad, she gets really emotional. She may ask us to change the song because it’s too sad,” Loeb shares. “We listen to all kinds of stuff … a lot of alternative and classic rock.”

Luckily for Loeb, her role in motherhood has given her a glimpse into what music kids can relate to — and which songs have adults running for the hills.

“I think the most important thing to do is to tell stories that are very specific and allow yourself to be imaginative, but the lyrics are very visual and specific,” she explains. “It should sound like a well-produced record – it should never talk down to kids because that’ll drive parents crazy.”

– Anya Leon with reporting by Carlos Greer