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Lenny Kravitz
The bad boy of rock ‘n roll has the heart and soul of an angel. Romantic but moody, fiery but sensitive, sexy but sophisticated, smart but naive, Lenny Kravitz is in a league of his own. He has carved a niche for himself in today’s music scene and has emerged as one of the most successful solo acts of his generation.

His energetic, dynamic sound has transcended genre, style, race and class. His music is rich with influences of ’60s and ‘70s soul, rock and funk, and yet, each of his albums has communicated the urgency of their current years. Now Lenny Kravitz releases his seventh studio album, Baptism, and with a career that spans fifteen years since the release of his 1989 debut, Let Love Rule, he has come full circle. To quote him - It’s strange, man, but I’ve made my first record all over again. That’s how it feels, as pure as the beginning...

When Kravitz emerged in the late 80s, he brought with him a bold rock and alternative sound combining the emotions of the 60s with the intensity of the 80s. His musical style (remniscent of Hendrix) and songwriting talents (compared to Lennon) first caught the ears of music critics, and soon music lovers yearning for a new distraction from pop radio. Even though his look on stage reminded viewers of the 60s, his moves and musical innovation proved it was a different decade. In the last fifteen years, Lenny Kravitz has evolved from an underground cult phenomenon to a retro fashion icon to a worldwide rock superstar.

Kravitz, who is half-Jewish and half-Bahamian, grew up in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Los Angeles with his mom, actress Roxie Roker of (Helen Willis on The Jeffersons), and dad, TV producer, Sy Kravitz. While growing up, Kravitz taught himself how to play various music instruments and began writing his own songs. Kravitz was a member of the California Boys Choir until his voice changed: ‘I went to high school, picked up the guitar again and got back into the rock 'n roll.’ His first brush with his own notoriety came when he married actress Lisa Bonet (of The Cosby Show) in 1987 (the couple divorced 6 years later after a 2-year separation).

Kravitz's debut LP, Let Love Rule, helped launch the singer with his trademark dreadlocks into the mainstream of alternative rock music. Kravitz's second, Mama Said, was released and became his first platinum LP. It was around this time that Kravitz penned a major hit single, not for himself but for Madonna, which went to number one with the sultry track Justify My Love. The next - Are You Gonna Go My Way - a massive hit and Kravitz became an arena headliner, as well as being featured on countless magazine covers. Thus he was integrated into the mainstream (both musically and fashion-wise), proving that Kravitz was a bit of a trendsetter. After that there was no stopping Kravtiz who has till today consistently produced album after album. No wonder all of his albums have been certified either platinum or multi-platinum. From 1999 to 2002, he won an astounding four consecutive Grammy Awards, setting a record for the most wins in the Best Male Rock Vocal Performance category. (Dig In, Again, American Woman, Fly Away).

Lenny Kravitz will be turning 40 this year and that reflects in the lyrics and the music of the album. Like all great records, the seeds of Baptism came from personal epiphany. Kravitz had spent many months in the early part of 2003 in Miami working on songs for an all-out, dedicated funk album. But in the fall of 2003, his initial direction transformed into unexpected revelations when Kravitz visited his old hometown, New York City.

You can read the rest of our feature on Lenny Kravitz in the June 2004 issue of The Record Music Magazine available at your local newsagent.

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