With an increasingly diversified CV, Lenny Kravitz isn’t your average rock star
Lenny kravitz was born in Manhattan, NYC, on May 1964 to a television actress and TV news producer. Showing interest in music from a young age, his parents supported his interest by taking him to music shows, he saw ‘The Jacksons’ at Madison Square and most of the jazz and soul greats of the day.
In 1974 Lenny’s mum got the role of Helen Willis in ‘The Jeffersons’ and the family moved to Los Angeles. It was here he started to get a taste for rock music and at Beverly Hills High Kravitz was accepted into the school’s well-respected music program where he taught himself bass, piano, guitar and drums.
In 1988 Kravtiz approached his friend Stephen Elvis Smith to manage his band. Smith had worked as music supervisor on ‘The Cosby Show’, ‘A Different World’ and had even worked with Kravitz mother on ‘The Jeffersons’. In less than a month he was signed by Virgin and he released his debut album ‘Let Love Rule’ in September 1989. It became an instant hit and Kravtiz began to open for superstar acts such as Bob Dylan.
In 1990 He produced Madonna’s ‘Justify My Love’ which created controversy on account of the explicit video which MTV banned -the video went on sale in record stores and sold 500,000 copies. Lisa Bonet, ‘Cosby Show’ star and Kravitz wife of three years, with whom he had a daughter, accused her husband of having an affair with Madonna which effectively ended their marriage. Kravitz denied any such affair.
Kravitz released his second album 'Mama Said' in 1991, with the single 'It Ain't Over 'Til it's Over' reaching No.2 and propelling Kravitz to worldwide fame. He wrote an album for French chanteuse, Vanessa Paradis and worked with Mick Jagger, Steve Tyler, David Bowie, Al Green and Curtis Mayfield.
1993's 'Are You Gonna Go My Way' was a huge success and Kravitz first top twenty album. He released his fourth album, 'Circus' in 1995 which climbed to number ten in the album charts, despite this, the album only had two hit singles, ‘Rock and Roll is Dead’ and ‘Can’t Get You Off My Mind.’
In his 1998 album ‘5’, Kravitz successfully embraced digital technology for the first time in his career. ‘I belong to you’, was a hit but the single 'Fly Away' went stellar after being chosen as the soundtrack for not just one but two TV commercials and his first number one followed.
He won the first of four consecutive awards for Best Male Rock Vocal Performance when he appeared at the 1999 Grammy Awards. His 'Greatest Hits' album, released in 2000, reached number two on the US Billboard 200 charts and sold close to 11 million copies worldwide making it one of the top selling albums of the noughties.
Kravitz sixth album, ‘Lenny’, was recorded and released in 2001 and features a number of collaborative projects with artists including Jay-z and P Diddy.
In early 2003 Kravtiz released the track ‘We Want Peace’ with Kazem Al Saher to protest about the invasion of Iraq. The track reached number one on the world internet download charts.
His seventh album, 'Baptism', was not released until May 2004 and featured a song with Jay-Z entitled 'Storm'. The single 'Lady', which managed a top 30 entry in the US charts, was purported to be dedicated to Nicole Kidman, his then girlfriend. In the same year he appeared on N.E.R.D’s album ‘Fly or Die’.
‘It Is Time for a Love Revolution' (2008) was the singer's eighth album and he promoted it with a short tour of the states, however, after a month he was admitted to a hospital suffering from severe bronchitis forcing him to cancel some dates. The condition re-occurred in Milan, Italy the following year and he was ordered to rest.
After much name changing ‘Black and White America’, was finally released in 2011 along with two singles ‘Come on Get it’ and ‘Stand’ before announcing he’d be joining U2 for four shows of their 360 Tour.
In 2009 Kravitz appeared in the film 'Precious', which had its premiere at the Sundance Film Festival, and he received a Screen Actors Guild nomination. In 2010 he appeared in an episode of hit US TV show, 'Entourage' and in 2012 featured in ‘The Hunger Games’. Most recently he was in ‘The Butler’ (2013) for which he received a second Screen Actors Guild nomination. In addition to this Kravitz has a flair for design and he founded an interior design company, ‘Kravitz Design' in 2003, but it’s via music that he’s gained the most accolades.
To date he’s been awarded four Grammy awards, an American Music Award, a VH1 Award and a Blockbuster Entertainment Award. In 2011 he was awarded France’s highest cultural award and made an ‘Officer of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres’. Kravitz was particularly touched by this gesture as his success in France, where he remains popular, pre-dated his success in the U.S.