Lenny Kravitz

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Lenny Kravitz
Lenny Kravitz by Gage Skidmore.jpg
Kravitz in 2013
Leonard Albert Kravitz

(1964-05-26) May 26, 1964 (age 55) [1]
Residence Paris, France
Other names
  • Lenny
  • Romeo Blue
  • Singer
  • songwriter
  • actor
  • record producer
  • multi-instrumentalist
Years active1981–present
Lisa Bonet
(m. 1987;div. 1993)
Children Zoë Kravitz
Musical career
  • Vocals
  • guitar
  • drums
  • keyboards
  • bass
Associated acts
Website lennykravitz.com

Leonard Albert Kravitz (born May 26, 1964) is an American singer, songwriter, actor, record producer, and multi-instrumentalist. His "retro" style incorporates elements of rock, blues, soul, R&B, funk, jazz, reggae, hard rock, psychedelic, pop, folk, and ballads.

Rock music is a broad genre of popular music that originated as "rock and roll" in the United States in the early 1950s, and developed into a range of different styles in the 1960s and later, particularly in the United States and the United Kingdom. It has its roots in 1940s and 1950s rock and roll, a style which drew heavily from the genres of blues, rhythm and blues, and from country music. Rock music also drew strongly from a number of other genres such as electric blues and folk, and incorporated influences from jazz, classical and other musical styles. Musically, rock has centered on the electric guitar, usually as part of a rock group with electric bass, drums, and one or more singers. Usually, rock is song-based music usually with a 4/4 time signature using a verse–chorus form, but the genre has become extremely diverse. Like pop music, lyrics often stress romantic love but also address a wide variety of other themes that are frequently social or political.

Blues is a music genre and musical form which was originated in the Deep South of the United States around the 1870s by African Americans from roots in African musical traditions, African-American work songs, and spirituals. Blues incorporated spirituals, work songs, field hollers, shouts, chants, and rhymed simple narrative ballads. The blues form, ubiquitous in jazz, rhythm and blues and rock and roll, is characterized by the call-and-response pattern, the blues scale and specific chord progressions, of which the twelve-bar blues is the most common. Blue notes, usually thirds, fifths or sevenths flattened in pitch are also an essential part of the sound. Blues shuffles or walking bass reinforce the trance-like rhythm and form a repetitive effect known as the groove.

Soul music is a popular music genre that originated in the African American community in the United States in the 1950s and early 1960s. It combines elements of African-American gospel music, rhythm and blues and jazz. Soul music became popular for dancing and listening in the United States, where record labels such as Motown, Atlantic and Stax were influential during the Civil Rights Movement. Soul also became popular around the world, directly influencing rock music and the music of Africa.


He won the Grammy Award for Best Male Rock Vocal Performance four years in a row from 1999 to 2002, breaking the record for most wins in that category as well as setting the record for most consecutive wins in one category by a male. He has been nominated for and won other awards, including American Music Awards, MTV Video Music Awards, Radio Music Awards, Brit Awards, and Blockbuster Entertainment Awards. He was also ranked number 93 on VH1's 100 Greatest Artists of Hard Rock. [2] On December 1, 2011, Kravitz was made an Officer of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. He played Cinna in the Hunger Games film series.

Grammy Award Accolade by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences of the United States

A Grammy Award, or Grammy, is an award presented by The Recording Academy to recognize achievements in the music industry. The trophy depicts a gilded gramophone. The annual presentation ceremony features performances by prominent artists, and the presentation of those awards that have a more popular interest. The Grammys are the second of the Big Three major music awards held annually.

The Grammy Award for Best Male Rock Vocal Performance was an award presented at the Grammy Awards, a ceremony that was established in 1958 and originally called the Gramophone Awards, to male recording artists for works containing quality vocal performances in the rock music genre. Honors in several categories are presented at the ceremony annually by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences of the United States to "honor artistic achievement, technical proficiency and overall excellence in the recording industry, without regard to album sales or chart position".

American Music Awards annual American music awards show

The American (AMAs) is an annual American music awards show, generally held in the Fall, created by Dick Clark in 1973 for ABC when the network's contract to air the Grammy Awards expired. It is the first of the Big Three music award shows held annually. Unlike the Grammys, which are awarded on the basis of votes by members of the Recording Academy, the AMAs are determined by a poll of the public and fans, who can vote through the AMAs website. The award statuette is manufactured by New York firm Society Awards.

Early life

Kravitz was born in Manhattan, New York, the only child of actress Roxie Roker and NBC television news producer Sy Kravitz. [3] His father was of Ukrainian-Jewish descent (one of Lenny's great-grandfathers was from Kiev, Ukraine; see the Kravits surname). [4] [5] [6] [7] His mother was of Bahamian and African-American descent, and was from a Christian family. [8] [9] [10] [11] Through his mother, Kravitz is a second cousin of television weather presenter Al Roker as their grandfathers were brothers. [12] During his early years, Kravitz did not grow up in a religious environment. [4] After a spiritual experience when he was 13, he started attending church, becoming a non-denominational Christian. [4] [13]

Roxie Roker American actress

Roxie Albertha Roker was an American actress who portrayed Helen Willis on the CBS sitcom The Jeffersons (1975–1985), half of the first interracial couple to be shown on regular prime time television. She is the mother of rock musician Lenny Kravitz and the grandmother of actress Zoë Kravitz.

NBC American television and radio network

The National Broadcasting Company (NBC) is an American English-language commercial terrestrial television network that is a flagship property of NBCUniversal, a subsidiary of Comcast. The network is headquartered at 30 Rockefeller Plaza in New York City, with additional major offices near Los Angeles, Chicago and Philadelphia. The network is one of the Big Three television networks. NBC is sometimes referred to as the "Peacock Network", in reference to its stylized peacock logo, introduced in 1956 to promote the company's innovations in early color broadcasting. It became the network's official emblem in 1979.

History of the Jews in Ukraine History of Ukrainian Jews, from 11th c. to modern times

The history of the Jews in Ukraine goes back over a thousand years. Jewish communities have existed in the territory of Ukraine from the time of Kievan Rus' and developed many of the most distinctive modern Jewish theological and cultural traditions such as Hasidism. According to the World Jewish Congress, the Jewish community in Ukraine constitute the third biggest Jewish community in Europe and the fifth biggest in the world.

Sy Kravitz was a Green Beret. His brother, Leonard M. Kravitz, followed in his footsteps to the military, becoming a Private First Class. Lenny Kravitz would be named after this uncle, who was killed in action in the Korean War at the age of 19, while defending against a Chinese attack and saving most of his platoon; he was posthumously awarded the Distinguished Service Cross but was denied the Medal of Honor. [14] In 2014, he posthumously received the Medal of Honor in a ceremony that awarded it to 23 other servicemen who were passed over because of their ethnicity. [15] Kravitz grew up spending weekdays on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, with his parents, attending P.S. 6 for elementary school, and weekends at his grandmother Bessie Roker's house in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn.

Leonard M. Kravitz

Leonard Martin Kravitz was an American soldier in the United States Army who served in the Korean War. He is a posthumous recipient of the Medal of Honor.

Korean War 1950s war between North and South Korea

The Korean War was a war between North Korea and South Korea. The war began on 25 June 1950 when North Korea invaded South Korea following a series of clashes along the border.

Distinguished Service Cross (United States) US army medal for gallantry

The Distinguished Service Cross is the second highest military award that can be given to a member of the United States Army, for extreme gallantry and risk of life in actual combat with an armed enemy force. Actions that merit the Distinguished Service Cross must be of such a high degree that they are above those required for all other U.S. combat decorations but do not meet the criteria for the Medal of Honor. The Distinguished Service Cross is equivalent to the Navy Cross, the Air Force Cross, and the Coast Guard Cross.

Kravitz began banging on pots and pans in the kitchen, playing them as drums at the age of three. At the age of five, he wanted to be a musician. He began playing the drums and soon added guitar. Kravitz grew up listening to the music his parents listened to: R&B, jazz, classical, opera, gospel, and blues. "My parents were very supportive of the fact that I loved music early on, and they took me to a lot of shows," Kravitz said. [16] [17] Around the age of seven, he saw The Jacksons perform at Madison Square Garden, which became his favorite group. [18] His father, who was also a jazz promoter, was friends with Duke Ellington, Sarah Vaughan, Count Basie, Ella Fitzgerald, Bobby Short, Miles Davis and other jazz greats. Ellington even played "Happy Birthday" for him one year when he was about 5. [19] [20] [21] He was exposed to the soul music of Motown, Stax, James Brown, Aretha Franklin, Al Green, Stevie Wonder, Curtis Mayfield, Gladys Knight, The Isley Brothers, and Gamble and Huff growing up who were key influences on his musical style. Kravitz often went to see New York theater, where his mother worked. His mother encouraged his dreams of pursuing music.

Rhythm and blues, commonly abbreviated as R&B, is a genre of popular music that originated in African American communities in the 1940s. The term was originally used by record companies to describe recordings marketed predominantly to urban African Americans, at a time when "urbane, rocking, jazz based music with a heavy, insistent beat" was becoming more popular. In the commercial rhythm and blues music typical of the 1950s through the 1970s, the bands usually consisted of piano, one or two guitars, bass, drums, one or more saxophones, and sometimes background vocalists. R&B lyrical themes often encapsulate the African-American experience of pain and the quest for freedom and joy, as well as triumphs and failures in terms of relationships, economics, and aspirations.

Jazz is a music genre that originated in the African-American communities of New Orleans, United States. It originated in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and developed from roots in blues and ragtime. Jazz is seen by many as "America's classical music". Since the 1920s Jazz Age, jazz has become recognized as a major form of musical expression. It then emerged in the form of independent traditional and popular musical styles, all linked by the common bonds of African-American and European-American musical parentage with a performance orientation. Jazz is characterized by swing and blue notes, call and response vocals, polyrhythms and improvisation. Jazz has roots in West African cultural and musical expression, and in African-American music traditions including blues and ragtime, as well as European military band music. Intellectuals around the world have hailed jazz as "one of America's original art forms".

Classical music broad tradition of Western art music

Classical music is art music produced or rooted in the traditions of Western culture, including both liturgical (religious) and secular music. While a more precise term is also used to refer to the period from 1750 to 1820, this article is about the broad span of time from before the 6th century AD to the present day, which includes the Classical period and various other periods. The central norms of this tradition became codified between 1550 and 1900, which is known as the common-practice period.

In 1974, the Kravitz family relocated to Los Angeles when Kravitz's mother landed her role on The Jeffersons . At his mother's urging, Kravitz joined the California Boys Choir for three years, where he performed a classical repertoire, and sang with the Metropolitan Opera. He took part in Mahler's Third Symphony at the Hollywood Bowl. It was in Los Angeles that Kravitz was first introduced to rock music, listening to The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, the Grateful Dead, Aerosmith, Black Sabbath, Creedence Clearwater Revival, KISS, Pink Floyd, and The Who. [18] "I was attracted to the cool style, the girls, the rock 'n' roll lifestyle," Kravitz said. [18] Kravitz's other musical influences at the time included Fela Kuti, Bill Withers, Marvin Gaye, Pharoah Sanders and Miles Davis; [18] John Lennon and Bob Marley proved later to be influential as well. Kravitz attended Beverly Hills High School. Maria McKee, actor Nicolas Cage and musician Slash were his classmates. In 1978, Kravitz was accepted into the school's well-respected music program. He taught himself to play piano and bass, and made friends with Zoro who would later become his long-time collaborator. [22] Kravitz wanted to be a session musician. He also appeared as an actor in television commercials during this time.

<i>The Jeffersons</i> television series

The Jeffersons is an American sitcom that was broadcast on CBS from January 18, 1975, to July 2, 1985, lasting 11 seasons and a total of 253 episodes. The Jeffersons is one of the longest-running sitcoms, the second-longest-running American series with a primarily African American cast, and the first to prominently feature a married interracial couple.

Metropolitan Opera Opera company in Manhattan, New York City

The Metropolitan Opera is an opera company based in New York City, resident at the Metropolitan Opera House at the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. The company is operated by the non-profit Metropolitan Opera Association, with Peter Gelb as general manager. As of 2018, the company's current music director is Yannick Nézet-Séguin.

Gustav Mahler Late-Romantic Austrian composer

Gustav Mahler was an Austro-Bohemian late-Romantic composer, and one of the leading conductors of his generation. As a composer he acted as a bridge between the 19th century Austro-German tradition and the modernism of the early 20th century. While in his lifetime his status as a conductor was established beyond question, his own music gained wide popularity only after periods of relative neglect, which included a ban on its performance in much of Europe during the Nazi era. After 1945 his compositions were rediscovered by a new generation of listeners; Mahler then became one of the most frequently performed and recorded of all composers, a position he has sustained into the 21st century. In 2016, a BBC Music Magazine survey of 151 conductors ranked three of his symphonies in the top ten symphonies of all time.


1989–1990: Virgin Records and career debut

With record labels still telling him his music was not "black enough" or "white enough", Kravitz decided to record an album on his own. Kravitz had met recording engineer/keyboardist/bassist Henry Hirsch in 1985 when recording a demo at his Hoboken, New Jersey recording studio. The two shared an interest in using real instruments and vintage recording equipment, as well as a love of R&B, jazz, and rock. Kravitz would go on to collaborate with Hirsch on most of his albums. Kravitz began working on his debut album with Hirsch over the next year and a half, with Kravitz's father paying for the studio time. Kravitz met saxophonist Karl Denson and invited him to play on the song, "Let Love Rule". Kravitz was so impressed with his playing that Denson played on much of the album. Denson toured with Kravitz for the next five years.

In October 1988, after completing most of the recording, Kravitz approached friend Stephen Elvis Smith who had served as the Music Supervisor on Lisa Bonet's spin-off of The Cosby Show , A Different World . Smith had also worked with Kravitz' mother, on the hit sitcom The Jeffersons . Kravitz urged Smith to manage his career and assist him in finding a record deal. In less than a month of shopping the recordings, five labels (Warner Bros, Elektra, Geffen, Capitol and Virgin) were in a bidding war for Kravitz. Eventually a deal was made with Virgin Records in January 1989, and signed by Virgin A&R executive Nancy Jeffries. The label was excited about the music he was making, music inspired by his relationship with wife Bonet and their new daughter, Zoe. On Smith's urging, Kravitz dropped the name Romeo Blue and reclaimed the Lenny Kravitz moniker. About his time as Romeo Blue, Kravitz said, "Ultimately, it got me back to myself. And when I finally did accept myself for myself, music started flowing out of me." [17]

Kravitz released his début album Let Love Rule in 1989, a combination of rock and funk with a 1960s vibe. Music critics were mixed: some felt Kravitz was a gifted new artist, others felt he was overpowered by his musical influences. The album was a moderate success in the United States, but became an instant hit outside of the US, especially in Europe. Lisa Bonet directed the debut music video for the title track, "Let Love Rule". Stephen Smith signed Kravitz with talent booking agency CAA, who soon were fielding offers for Kravitz, first on a club tour, and then in opening slots for Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, Bob Dylan and David Bowie. Having played essentially all of the instruments on the album, Kravitz had to quickly assemble a touring band to support the Let Love Rule release. They included a childhood friend, Zoro on drums (formerly of Bobby Brown's band), Adam Widoff (guitar), Lebron Scott (bass guitar, recruited from Curtis Mayfield's band after seeing them perform in a NYC club), Kenneth Crouch (keyboards) and Karl Denson on saxophone. In May 2009, a 20th Anniversary Deluxe Edition of "Let Love Rule" was released worldwide by Virgin. The double disk includes a booklet with rare photos, and 18 additional demos, bonus tracks and live recordings. Kravitz launched a LLR(20) tour of Europe and the United States in support of the re-release. And the principal of his career in Brittany, at Rennes [23] [24] [25] [20] [24] [24] [24] [23]

1991–2001: Popularity established

In 1990, Kravitz produced the song "Justify My Love" for Madonna, which he co-wrote with Ingrid Chavez. The song, which appeared on her greatest hits album The Immaculate Collection and created controversy because of its explicit video, went to number 1 for two consecutive weeks. When MTV banned the video, the video was quickly made available for sale at record stores, and immediately sold over 500,000 copies. Kravitz separated from Lisa Bonet in 1991, [26] amid rumors of an affair between him and Madonna. Kravitz has denied any infidelity. [26] Kravitz and Bonet divorced in 1993. In 1991, Kravitz produced the self-titled album Vanessa Paradis for French singer and actress Vanessa Paradis. He played most of the instruments and co-wrote most of the songs on the album. He also released his second album, Mama Said , which was his first album to reach the Top 40. The songs on the album were about Bonet and dedicated to her, documenting his depression over their breakup. [20] Kravitz's biggest single yet, "It Ain't Over 'til It's Over", went to number 2 on the Billboard Hot 100. The single "Always on the Run", a tribute to his mother, [20] featured Slash on guitar. "Stand by My Woman" and "What Goes Around Comes Around" followed. Sean Lennon co-wrote and played piano on the song "All I Ever Wanted".

In 1993, Kravitz wrote "Line Up" for Aerosmith's Steven Tyler, and appeared on Mick Jagger's solo album, Wandering Spirit , in a cover of the Bill Withers soul classic "Use Me", and played guitar on the title track of David Bowie's The Buddha of Suburbia . That year Kravitz also got to work with idols Al Green and Curtis Mayfield. In 1993, Are You Gonna Go My Way was released, reaching number 12 on the Billboard 200 and Kravitz earned a BRIT Award for best international male artist in 1994. The title track won a MTV Video Music Award for Best Male Video for the video produced by Mark Romanek, in which Kravitz slung his dreadlocks and wore high-heeled platform boots. During the presentation of the MTV Video Music Awards, he performed the song with John Paul Jones of Led Zeppelin on bass. Several singles from the album would follow, including "Believe", "Is There Any Love In Your Heart", and "Heaven Help/Spinning Around Over You". This album was the first to feature guitarist Craig Ross, who has also played on all his subsequent albums. [27] One song, "Eleutheria", was influenced by the island Eleuthera in The Bahamas where Kravitz built a house and recording studio at that time. [20] In 1993, he also released the EP Spinning Around Over You, which included four live tracks from his "Universal Love Tour". A feature documentary about his 1994 tour entitled Alive from Planet Earth was directed by Doug Nichol and released.

In 1994, Kravitz recorded "Main Squeeze" with Teena Marie from her "Passion Play" CD. Lenny also made a video to pay tribute to Teena Marie when she suddenly died on December 26, 2010. Lenny recorded a funk-rock version of the song "Deuce" for the KISS cover album KISS My Ass: Classic KISS Regrooved . The track featured Stevie Wonder on harmonica and background vocals. This song was one of three radio singles from the album, and was also the album's lead-off track. Roxie Roker, Kravitz's mother, died in California on December 2, 1995, of breast cancer at the age of 66. In 1995, Lenny Kravitz released the album Circus , which went to number 10 on the Billboard chart on the back of his past achievement. However, the album only had two hit singles: "Rock and Roll Is Dead" and "Can't Get You Off My Mind".

With 5 (1998), Kravitz embraced digital technology such as Pro Tools and samplers for the first time. Recorded in both his own New York City carriage house, and Compass Point Studios in The Bahamas, Kravitz employed engineer/producer Terry Manning to handle the recording duties. 5 introduced his music to an even wider audience thanks to the hit single "Fly Away" being featured prominently in both car manufacturer and airline commercials. 5 would reach number 28 on the Billboard 200, with "Fly Away" peaking at number twelve on the Billboard Hot 100, topping both the Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks and Modern Rock Tracks charts, and also topping the charts in Iceland and the United Kingdom. He would win the first of his four consecutive Grammy for Best Male Rock Vocal Performance at the Grammy Awards of 1999. Other hits from the album included "If You Can't Say No", that was also remixed by dance producer Brian Transeau, and "I Belong to You". For the "I Belong to You" video Lenny can be seen without his signature dreadlocks. In 1999 he produced and sang with Cree Summer on her solo album Street Faërie.

His cover version of The Guess Who's hit "American Woman" won him another Grammy at the Grammy Awards of 2000 and helped The Guess Who's song reach a new audience. Kravitz's version of the song originally came from the soundtrack of Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me and was added to 5 as a bonus track in 1999. Kravitz worked on two songs for Michael Jackson's Invincible album released in 2001; a snippet of "Another Day" was leaked, and the full version was officially released on the album Michael in 2010. [28]

Kravitz released a Greatest Hits album in 2000. It proved to be his most successful album, reaching #2 on the Billboard 200 and selling nearly 11 million copies worldwide and ultimately becoming one of the most commercially successful albums of the decade. The single "Again" earned him his third consecutive Grammy for the Best Male Rock Vocal in the Grammy Awards of 2001 and peaked at number 4 on the US Billboard Hot 100. Kravitz also co-wrote the song "God Gave Me Everything" with Mick Jagger in this period, appearing on Jagger's 2001 solo album Goddess in the Doorway and in the film Being Mick . In 2001, Kravitz participated in a benefit auction for the Red Hot Organization, in conjunction with Amazon.com to increase public AIDS awareness, which ran from February 28 until April 11, 2001. The event featured rare RHO memorabilia and the work of Rolling Stone photographer Mark Seliger.

2001–2005: Lenny and Baptism

Kravitz in Brasilia, Brazil on March 19, 2005 Lenny Kravitz (Brasilia, 2005).jpeg
Kravitz in Brasília, Brazil on March 19, 2005

Kravitz released his sixth album Lenny in October 2001. The album was recorded in Miami. Kravitz wrote the song "Bank Robber Man" after the Miami Police Department detained and cuffed him while walking to the gym with his trainer because police stated that he matched the description of a bank robber. Kravitz did not have any identification with him at the time and the police on the scene did not believe that he was indeed Lenny Kravitz. The bank teller who was robbed was then brought to the scene and said Kravitz was not the bank robber. Miami Police later sent officers to Kravitz's home to apologize for the detention. When asked if he thought the incident was a case of racial profiling, Kravitz said he was not sure although some of the lyrics in the song suggest otherwise. The first single from the album, "Dig In", went to number 1 in Argentina and the top 10 in Italy and Portugal. The video for "Dig In" was originally supposed to be shot at the top of the Empire State Building on September 12, 2001 but the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001 caused the location to be moved. The video was later shot off the coast Miami. He won his fourth Grammy in 2002. "Stillness of Heart", "Believe in Me", and "If I Could Fall In Love" were subsequent singles from the album.

Kravitz was the subject of a photo book by former chief photographer for Rolling Stone, Mark Seliger. Published in November 2001, Seliger captures Kravitz on tour, with family, with friends and in posed portraits. Jay-Z invited Kravitz to appear on the track "Guns and Roses" on his 2002 The Blueprint²: The Gift & the Curse . Kravitz would also join P. Diddy, Pharrell and Loon on the track "Show Me Your Soul" from the Bad Boys II Soundtrack . In September 2002, Kravitz appeared alongside other rock stars in the episode "How I Spent My Strummer Vacation" of The Simpsons . In early 2003, Kravitz released the track "We Want Peace" as a download-only track as a protest against the 2003 invasion of Iraq, he performed this alongside famous Iraqi singer Kazem Al Saher at Rock The Vote. The track reached #1 on the world internet download charts and MP3.com download chart. Kravitz also appeared on Unity, the official album of the 2004 Athens Olympics, and performed a cover of "Have You Ever Been (To Electric Ladyland)" on the album Power of Soul: A Tribute to Jimi Hendrix .

Kravitz's seventh album Baptism was released in May 2004. The first single was "Where Are We Runnin'?". The single "California" failed to be commercially successful, but "Storm", featuring Jay-Z, reached the charts. "Calling All Angels" was successful in various countries and a huge hit in Brazil, however it was "Lady" that became the album's surprise hit, making the US Top 30 and propelling Baptism to gold status. Also in 2004, he appeared on N.E.R.D's album Fly or Die . From March 2005, Kravitz toured all over the world with the tour Electric Church, which ended at the Brixton Academy, London in July 2005. Kravitz served as the opening act for Aerosmith who are long term friends of Kravitz on their fall 2005 tour. The tour began on October 30 at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut. The night before that tour started, October 29, 2005, Lenny's father, TV producer Seymour "Sy" Kravitz, died. During that first show, Lenny broke the news to the stunned crowd and stated it was not a time to be sad, but rather a time to celebrate because he is now in Heaven. Lenny then dedicated Let Love Rule to his father. That tour was so successful that it was extended through February 25, 2006 and ended in Anaheim, California.

2006–2009: Live Earth, charity work, and It Is Time for a Love Revolution

In January 2006, Kravitz contributed "Breathe" to absoluttracks, a project sponsored by Absolut Vodka. This song was re-mixed by ten musical producers and distributed via the internet. Kravitz appeared in the audience of Madonna's Confessions Tour (2006) during numerous shows. He later joined Madonna live on stage to play guitar on the song, "I Love New York," at the last of four Paris shows. Kravitz founded a design firm named Kravitz Design, stating if he hadn't been a musician he would have been a designer. Kravitz Design, focused on interior and furniture design, has designed residential spaces, as well as a chandelier for the crystal company Swarovski, named "Casino Royale." [29]

On July 7, 2007, Kravitz performed at the Brazilian leg of Live Earth in Rio de Janeiro, [30] making him one of three major international rock stars to perform two huge free concerts at the world-famous Copacabana Beach along with Macy Gray and the Rolling Stones. Kravitz had already played there on March 21, 2005, drawing 300,000 people on a concert of his own. The Live Earth concert, with eight other acts on the bill, including Pharrell and Macy Gray, took 400,000 to the beach. Also in 2007, Kravitz released a version of "Cold Turkey" by John Lennon on the charity CD Instant Karma: The Amnesty International Campaign to Save Darfur . Kravitz also spent time recording his latest album, It Is Time for a Love Revolution , released February 5, 2008. [31] On September 25, 2007, the Fats Domino tribute album "Goin' Home ; A Tribute To Fats Domino" was released. Kravitz was on the song "Whole Lotta Lovin'" along with Rebirth Brass Band, Troy "Trombone Shorty" Andrews, Fred Wesley, Pee Wee Ellis and Maceo Parker. [32]

Kravitz performed at the Grey Cup halftime show in Toronto at the Rogers Centre on November 25, 2007, where the Saskatchewan Roughriders beat the Winnipeg Blue Bombers 23–19. [33] The original video for "I'll Be Waiting" was shot in Central Park in New York City with Marc Webb directing but that video was later shelved and a new version, which Kravitz co-directed with Philip Andelman, was filmed in Lenny's New York City recording studio. The video premiered on VH1's Top 20 Countdown at number 3. On January 17, 2008, Kravitz embarked on a 9 city mini-tour to promote his new album It Is Time for a Love Revolution. The tour started in Santa Monica, California and ended in New York City on February 1. The tour was done in association with Myspace and called the "Get on the Bus" tour. At each stop on the tour, they would pick up one contest winner and their guest and they rode on the "Love Revolution" bus until the end of the tour. Steven Tyler of Aerosmith, a close friend of Lenny's would appear at The Orpheum Theater in Boston. The New York City winner, Tyrone Good was presented a train ticket from Penn Station to travel to Philadelphia and rode with the tour the rest of the way starting in Philadelphia (The Electric Factory), Boston (The Orpheum Theater), and finally New York City (The Hammerstein Ballroom). Ryan Neuerburg, the San Francisco winner, embarked on almost the entire tour with his father, Tom Neuerburg. The winners were featured in the YRB February Edition alongside Lenny Kravitz in a magazine pull-out. The photo shoot took place at the Electric Factory in Philadelphia on stage. The winner's pull out was featured in another issue of YRB which had Lil' Wayne on the cover.

On February 11, 2008, Kravitz was admitted to Miami Hospital suffering from severe bronchitis. He had been suffering from a series of severe respiratory tract infections since mid-January, and the illness developed into bronchitis. Kravitz's illness had forced him to postpone Canadian dates and his trip to Europe to promote his album It Is Time for a Love Revolution. On March 19, 2008 he canceled the South American part of his tour due to the same illness. The decision affected planned concerts in Colombia, Mexico, Brazil and Argentina. In Argentina Kravitz had a performance in the biggest rock festival there, Quilmes Rock Fest. [34] On July 15, 2008, Lenny was honored in Milan, Italy with the key to the city in a special toast ceremony for his work with the United Nations Millennium Campaign to end world poverty. [35]

Kravitz performing in Madrid on June 30, 2012. Lenny Kravitz - Rock in Rio Madrid 2012 - 29 (cropped).jpg
Kravitz performing in Madrid on June 30, 2012.

Kravitz made his feature film acting debut in Precious [36] which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2009. [37] During the Italian leg of his 53 date Let Love Rule (20)09 European tour, Kravitz had been instructed to cancel some shows due to a bad bout of bronchitis. Under strict orders from his doctor, the singer was told to rest so that he could make a quick recovery and return to the stage for the rest of his tour. Shows scheduled for Rome on June 5 and Brescia on June 6 were postponed to late July.

2009–2012: U2 tour and Black and White America

Kravitz's next album, tentatively titled Funk, was tentatively re-titled Negrophilia and was due out sometime in 2010. This is believed to be a project that Kravitz has been working on since 1997. Some of the original tracks for Funk were recorded while he was in New Orleans at Allen Toussaint's studio while taking a break for several months from recording in New York City. A video on Kravitz's Twitter page shows him working on one of the songs for the album, called "Super Love", in his GTS studios in the Bahamas. Another video shows him working on another track titled "Life Ain't Never Been Better Than It Is Now" in his GTS Studios. On his Twitter page, Kravitz said that the album title was Negrophilia but then "felt like something else". Eventually, the album was later named Black and White America . The album was released on August 22, 2011 in Europe and August 30, 2011 in the U.S.[ needs update ]

On February 20, 2011, the first single "Come on Get It" was released. On June 6, 2011, the second single "Stand" was released. It was announced that Kravitz would be supporting U2 on their 360 Tour on the second North American leg in 2010. Kravitz agreed to support them for four shows. Though the shows were postponed until 2011, Kravitz remained committed for four of the shows.[ needs update ] In June 2010 it was announced that Kravitz would guest star on an episode of the upcoming season of Entourage . [38]

Lenny Kravitz live. Lenny Kravitz - Rock in Rio Madrid 2012 - 32.jpg
Lenny Kravitz live.

In 2011 Kravitz was honored with one of the highest cultural awards in France when he was made an Officer of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by French cultural minister Frederic Mitterrand in Paris. Kravitz stated he was "particularly touched" to receive the award in France as his success in the country pre-dated his success in the United States and still enjoys great record sales in the country today. [39] Kravitz joined other American recipients such as Martin Scorsese, George Clooney, and Bob Dylan. On February 26, 2012, he performed at the Daytona International Speedway (several songs carried live on Fox) for the Daytona 500, the opening race of the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup season. A sample of "Are You Gonna Go My Way" was used in American singer Chris Willis's single "Too Much In Love", released on August 16, 2011. [40]

2012–2015: The Hunger Games, Strut and Super Bowl XLIX

Kravitz performing with Katy Perry at Super Bowl XLIX halftime show. Katy Perry - Super Bowl XLIX Halftime 05.jpg
Kravitz performing with Katy Perry at Super Bowl XLIX halftime show.

Lenny Kravitz played the part of Katniss' creative stylist, Cinna, in the first two Hunger Games films, The Hunger Games released on March 23, 2012 [41] and The Hunger Games: Catching Fire released on November 22, 2013.

In 2014 Lenny Kravitz released his tenth studio album Strut on his own Roxie Records via Kobalt Label Services. [42] In 2015, Kravitz performed alongside Katy Perry at the Super Bowl XLIX halftime show.

In 2015, during a guitar solo at a concert in Stockholm, Kravitz squatted down, causing his leather pants to rip. Because Kravitz was not wearing underwear, his genitals were briefly exposed to the audience. [43] He did not face any legal repercussions from the incident. [44]

As a designer, Kravitz launched a furniture collection in partnership with CB2 in 2015. [45]

2015–2018: Designer, Better Things and Star

Kravitz performing at the 2016 Democratic National Convention DNC 2016 - Lenny Kravitz.jpeg
Kravitz performing at the 2016 Democratic National Convention

In 2015 he became a furniture designer for the first time ever launching a collection of furniture products marketed under the label cb2 x kravitz design through retailer CB2. [46] The collection was apparently inspired by the 70s and by the work of Italian designer Gabriella Crespi. [47]

In 2016 he guest starred on the FX TV show Better Things playing the part of Mel Trueblood. In 2017 he earned a spot on the Fox Television series Star playing the part of Roland Crane in his first recurring television role.

2018–Present: Raise Vibration And Possible Soundtrack album

The Raise Vibration world tour, [48] (2018) coincided with the release of his 11th studio album. [49] [50]

In April 2018, Kravitz signed with BMG Rights Management for a new worldwide publishing music deal to go with his new album Raise Vibration , released in September 2018. [51] BMG had acquired Kravitz's music publishing rights in 2013, as part of Virgin Music Publishing. [52]

In the same Rolling Stone interview it was confirmed that Kravitz had already begun work on a follow-up to Raise Vibration, as a possible soundtrack to a future film project. [50]

Kravitz Design

Kravitz Design Inc. is a New York City-based company founded by Kravitz in 2003. [53] Kravitz Design focuses on commercial, residential and product creative direction and design. [53] Amongst its clients are the Morgans Hotel Group, Swarovski Crystal, and The Setai Group. [54] In 2010, Kravitz Design Inc. collaborated with Flavor Paper wallpaper on the Tropicalismo Collection, a line inspired by Brazil's Tropicalia art movement of the late 1960s. [55]

Swarovski selected Kravitz Design Inc. in 2005 and 2006 to participate in their Crystal Palace Collection. [56] Kravitz Design Inc. has also envisioned a luxury recording studio for The Setai Resort and Residences in Miami Beach, New York, Paris and New Orleans. [57]

Personal life

Kravitz with daughter Zoe Kravitz at the 25th Spirit Awards in March 2010. Zoe Kravitz and Lenny Kravitz at the 25th Spirit Awards (cropped).jpg
Kravitz with daughter Zoë Kravitz at the 25th Spirit Awards in March 2010.

In 1985, Kravitz's parents divorced, which had a profound impact on him. His relationship with his father became extremely strained. [58] Kravitz focused on his music to help him get through this period. That year, Kravitz met actress Lisa Bonet backstage at a New Edition concert. Bonet worked on The Cosby Show , the number one rated show on television. They were close friends for two years before falling in love. Like Kravitz, Bonet is half Black and half Russian Jewish. Kravitz moved back to New York City where The Cosby Show was produced in 1987, moving in with Bonet.

Kravitz and Bonet eloped to be married on November 16, 1987, her 20th birthday, in a Las Vegas ceremony. Kravitz, still known as Romeo Blue at the time, suddenly found himself in the headlines of tabloid newspapers. They had a daughter, Zoë Isabella Kravitz, born on December 1, 1988, [59] who became an actress, singer, and model. Kravitz and Bonet divorced amicably in 1993. [60] He then dated French singer and model Vanessa Paradis until 1997. In 2001, he began dating Brazilian model Adriana Lima. In 2002, the couple were engaged, but less than a year later, the engagement was called off. [61] He briefly dated and was engaged to Australian actress Nicole Kidman in 2003–2004. [62]

Kravitz identifies himself as a Christian in a religious sense, "through choice but I'm also a Jew, it's all the same to me". [63] During another interview Kravitz stated, "I'm half Jewish, I'm half black, I look in-between." [64] He also notes that spirituality "has been an important issue in my growth", given his upbringing by parents of different faiths. [65] Such spirituality is prominently featured in many of his songs, such as the lyrics on his album Baptism, and having his back inscribed with a tattoo stating, "My Heart Belongs to Jesus Christ". [66] As late as 2011, Kravitz stated that his 2005 religious commitment to remain celibate until remarriage was unchanged. [67] [68]

Kravitz is a member of the Canadian charity Artists Against Racism and worked with them on a radio PSA. [69]


Kravitz and Craig Ross during a concert. Lenny Kravitz - Craig Ross - Rock in Rio Madrid 2012 - 02.jpg
Kravitz and Craig Ross during a concert.

Studio albums


1998 The Rugrats Movie Newborn Baby (voice)Nominated – Kids Choice Award for Best Cameo Voice in Animated Film
2001 Zoolander HimselfCameo role
2001 Being Mick HimselfSupporting role
2004 Rebelde HimselfGuest star
2007 The Diving Bell and the Butterfly HimselfCameo role
2009 Precious Nurse JohnSupporting role
Black Reel Award for Best Ensemble
Boston Society of Film Critics Award for Best Cast
Nominated—Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Cast
Nominated—NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture
Nominated—Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
Nominated—Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association Award for Best Ensemble
2012 The Hunger Games Cinna Supporting role
2012The World Is Watching: Making the Hunger GamesHimselfDocumentary
2013 The Butler James HollowaySupporting role
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire CinnaSupporting role
2014 Holy Ghost HimselfGuest star
2016 Zoolander No. 2 HimselfCameo role
2016 Better Things Mel TruebloodGuest star
2016 Star Roland CraneRecurring role


Awards and nominations

Grammy awards and nominations

1994 Best Rock Song "Are You Gonna Go My Way"Nominated
Best Male Rock Vocal Performance Nominated
1996"Rock and Roll Is Dead"Nominated
1999"Fly Away"Won
2000"American Woman"Won
Best Rock Song Nominated
2002 Best Male Rock Vocal Performance "Dig In"Won
2004"If I Could Fall In Love"Nominated

Billboard Music Awards

YearNominee / workAwardResult
1993"Are You Gonna Go My Way"Top Album Rock TrackNominated
HimselfTop Album Rock Tracks ArtistNominated
Top Modern Rock Tracks ArtistNominated
Top Hot 100 Artist - MaleNominated
"Fly Away"Top Mainstream Rock TrackNominated
2001HimselfTop Male ArtistNominated
Top Billboard 200 Artist - MaleNominated

Other awards and nominations

1990 MTV Video Music Awards Best New Artist in a Video "Let Love Rule"Nominated
1991 Pollstar Concert Industry AwardsClub Tour of the YearLet Love Rule TourNominated
1993 MTV Video Music Awards Best Male Video "Are You Gonna Go My Way"Won
Best Art Direction Nominated
1994 Brit Awards International Male Solo Artist HimselfWon
Pollstar Concert Industry AwardsSmall Hall Tour of the YearUniversal Love TourNominated
Most Creative Stage ProductionNominated
1995 MTV Europe Music Awards Best Male HimselfNominated
1998 VH1/Vogue Fashion Awards Most Fashionable Artist, MaleWon
Fryderyk Best Foreign Album 5 Nominated
Kids Choice Awards Best Cameo Voice in Animated Film The Rugrats Movie Nominated
1999 MTV Video Music Awards Best Male Video "Fly Away"Nominated
Best Rock Video Nominated
MTV Europe Music Awards Best Rock HimselfNominated
Billboard Music Video AwardsFAN.tastic Video"Fly Away"Won
Pollstar Concert Industry AwardsSmall Hall Tour of the YearThe Freedom TourNominated
VH1 Fashion Awards Most Fashionable Artist, MaleHimselfNominated
Online Music Awards Favorite Male Artist [70] Nominated
2000MVPA AwardsBest Pop Video"American Woman"Nominated
Best Rock VideoNominated
Soundtrack Video of the YearNominated
Teen Choice Awards Choice Music: Male Artist HimselfNominated
MTV Video Music Awards Best Male Video "Again"Nominated
Radio Music Awards Artist of the Year/Pop Alternative RadioHimselfWon
Blockbuster Entertainment Awards Favorite Male Artist – RockWon
My VH1 Awards Favorite Male ArtistWon
2002 American Music Awards Favorite Pop/Rock Male Artist Won
Microsoft Windows Media Innovation Awards Microsoft Windows Media Innovation Award Won
MTV Europe Music Awards Best Live Act Nominated
Best Male Nominated
2003Lunas del AuditorioBest Foreign Rock ArtistNominated
Teen Choice Awards Choice Fashion Icon: MaleNominated
2004 BDSCertified Spin Awards 50,000 Spins"Lady"Won
2005Lunas del AuditorioBest Foreign Rock ArtistHimselfWon
2006 ASCAP Pop Awards Most Performed Song"Lady"Won
2008MVPA AwardsBest Editing"I'll Be Waiting"Nominated
"Love Love Love"Nominated
2009 ECHO awards Best International Male ArtistHimselfNominated
NRJ Music Awards International Male Artist of the YearNominated
Screen Actors Guild Awards Best Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture Precious Nominated
Black Reel Awards Best Ensemble Won
Best Supporting Actor Nominated
Boston Society of Film Critics Awards Best Cast Won
Critics' Choice Movie Awards Best Acting Ensemble Nominated
NAACP Image Awards Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture Nominated
Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association Best Ensemble Nominated
2010 D&AD Awards Music Video"Let Love Rule" (Justice Remix)Wood Pencil
2012 DJ Awards Best Ibiza Live Performance HimselfWon
MTV Movie Awards Best Cast The Hunger Games Nominated
2013 NAACP Image Awards Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture Nominated
Critics' Choice Movie Awards Best Acting Ensemble The Butler Nominated
Screen Actors Guild Awards Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture Nominated
DJ Awards Best Ibiza Live Performance HimselfWon
2014 NRJ Music Awards NRJ Award of HonorWon
2015 UK Music Video Awards Best Live Music Coverage"Just Let Go"Won
2018Best Rock Video - International"Low"Nominated
Lunas del AuditorioBest Foreign Rock ArtistHimselfNominated
2019 GAFFA-Prisen Awards Best International ArtistPending

See also

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Fly Away (Lenny Kravitz song) Lenny Kravitz song

"Fly Away" is a song by American singer Lenny Kravitz. It was released as the fourth single from his fifth studio album, 5 (1998). Released in December 1998, "Fly Away" became one of Kravitz' biggest hits, topping the charts in Iceland and the United Kingdom and reaching the top 10 in several countries, including Australia, Canada, Ireland and New Zealand. In the United States the song peaked at number 12 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Are You Gonna Go My Way (song) 1993 single by Lenny Kravitz

"Are You Gonna Go My Way" is the first single to be released by Lenny Kravitz from the album Are You Gonna Go My Way. It was released in February 1993. It was written by Lenny Kravitz and Craig Ross. The single has been covered by numerous artists, such as Metallica, in a medley for "MTV Hits" at the 2003 MTV Music Video Awards, Tom Jones for the Jerky Boys OST, Robbie Williams on Jones' 1999 album Reload and Melanie Brown in her solo section, on the Spice Girls Reunion Tour. Serbian hard rock band Cactus Jack recorded a version on their live cover album DisCover in 2002. A remixed version is played as the opening theme song in Gran Turismo 3. Adam Lambert covered the song in November 2012 in his swing through South Africa.

Where Are We Runnin? 2004 single by Lenny Kravitz

"Where Are We Runnin'?" is a song performed by American rock musician Lenny Kravitz. It was released on April 10, 2004 as the lead single from his seventh studio album, Baptism (2004). The lyrics were written by Kravitz with collaboration by Craig Ross, and the music is also produced by Kravitz.

Again (Lenny Kravitz song) song by American rock musician Lenny Kravitz

"Again" is a song by American rock musician Lenny Kravitz, being the only new song from his first Greatest Hits album, released in 2000. Written, arranged and produced by himself, "Again" was initially set to be on his sixth studio album, however, Kravitz found out that the song didn't fit the tone of the album, releasing it as the lead-single from the compilation on September 14, 2000 through Virgin Records. The mid-tempo rock ballad finds Kravitz wondering if he will ever see his former lover again and if they will reunite once more.

Rock and Roll Is Dead 1995 single by Lenny Kravitz

"Rock and Roll Is Dead" is the first single released from the 1995 Lenny Kravitz album Circus. It reached the top 20 in Canada, Finland, New Zealand, and Spain, but it underperformed in the United States, peaking at number 75 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Dig In 2001 single by Lenny Kravitz

"Dig In" is a song by Lenny Kravitz, and the lead single from his sixth studio album, Lenny. It was released in August 2001. It was used in promos by the National Basketball Association for the 2002 NBA Playoffs, as well as the ending theme for the film Returner. It was also featured in the pilot episode of the Nickelodeon sitcom, Drake & Josh.

Zoë Kravitz American actress, singer, and model

Zoë Isabella Kravitz is an American actress, singer, and model. She is the daughter of musician Lenny Kravitz and actress Lisa Bonet. Kravitz made her acting debut in the 2007 film No Reservations.

<i>It Is Time for a Love Revolution</i> 2008 studio album by Lenny Kravitz

It Is Time for a Love Revolution is the eighth studio album by American singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, producer, and arranger Lenny Kravitz, released on February 5, 2008. The album produced three singles released in 2007 and 2008. This is Kravitz's final album for Virgin Records.

Let Love Rule (song) 1989 single by Lenny Kravitz

"Let Love Rule" is the 1989 debut single by Lenny Kravitz and appeared on his debut studio album, Let Love Rule (1989). The song charted at number 23 on the Mainstream Rock Tracks charts, and number 5 on the US Modern Rock charts. Then-wife Lisa Bonet appears in the video for the single.

Ill Be Waiting (Lenny Kravitz song) 2007 single by Lenny Kravitz

"I'll Be Waiting" is a rock song written by Lenny Kravitz and Craig Ross for Kravitz's eighth studio album, It Is Time for a Love Revolution (2008). It was released as the album's lead single on December 6, 2007. The iTunes download release date for the song was November 6, 2007.

Lenny Kravitz discography discography

American singer Lenny Kravitz has released 11 studio albums, one greatest hits compilation album, four box set compilation albums, two extended plays, 58 singles, and eight video albums, including three live albums. Kravitz has earned three gold albums, two platinum albums, two double platinum albums, and one triple platinum album. His debut album Let Love Rule (1989) peaked at number 61 in the US, and while receiving generally positive reviews, it became a huge success in Europe but took a long time to reach success in the US. Its followers, Mama Said (1991) and Are You Gonna Go My Way (1993) became instant hits, being considered some of the finest recordings of the decade and achieving platinum and multi-platinum status respectively, establishing Kravitz in the music industry and expanding his success in Europe and South America. However, despite only a two-year gap between albums, personal issues such as substance abuse problems, the aftermath of divorce, and his mother Roxie Roker's illness led to a decline in commercial sales with Circus (1995).

<i>Are You Gonna Go My Way</i> 1993 studio album by Lenny Kravitz

Are You Gonna Go My Way is the third studio album by American singer Lenny Kravitz, released on March 9, 1993 by Virgin Records. It was recorded at Waterfront Studios, Hoboken, New Jersey by Henry Hirsch. It became Kravitz's first top 20 album on the United States Billboard 200, and his first number one album in both Australia and the United Kingdom, achieving worldwide success that helped to establish his popularity as a performer.

<i>Raise Vibration</i> 2018 studio album by Lenny Kravitz

Raise Vibration is the eleventh studio album by American singer-songwriter Lenny Kravitz. The album was released on Roxie Records via BMG Rights Management on September 7, 2018. The album also produced four singles.


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Further reading

Preceded by
Nelly Furtado
Grey Cup Halftime Show
Succeeded by
Theory of a Deadman
Awards and achievements
Grammy Award
Preceded by
Bob Dylan
for "Cold Irons Bound"
Best Male Rock Vocal Performance
for "Fly Away"
Succeeded by
Lenny Kravitz
for "American Woman"
Preceded by
Lenny Kravitz
for "Fly Away"
Best Male Rock Vocal Performance
for "American Woman"
Succeeded by
Lenny Kravitz
for "Again"
Preceded by
Lenny Kravitz
for "American Woman"
Best Male Rock Vocal Performance
for "Again"
Succeeded by
Lenny Kravitz
for "Dig In"
Preceded by
Lenny Kravitz
for "Again"
Best Male Rock Vocal Performance
for "Dig In"
Succeeded by
Bruce Springsteen
for "The Rising"
MTV Video Music Awards
Preceded by
Eric Clapton
for "Tears in Heaven"
Best Male Video
for "Are You Gonna Go My Way"
Succeeded by
Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers
for "Mary Jane's Last Dance"