Lenny Kravitz was born in Brooklyn, New
York City, in 1964. His father is NBC TV news producer Sy Kravitz and his
mother the actress Roxie Roker who starred in the television comedy series
The Jeffersons. Lenny, the son of an interracial couple, was
interested in music at an early age. When the family moved to Los Angeles
because of his mother's part in The Jeffersons, Lenny began to sing
in the famous California Boys Choir. Determined to become a musician, he
learned to play the guitar, bass, piano and drums. In 1978, he was
accepted into the Beverly Hills High
School music program. Maria McKee and Slash (formerly Guns 'N' Roses) were his
classmates. Lenny acted in TV commercials and had parts in shows for
children and teenager.
Lenny Kravitz moved away from home, named
himself "Romeo Blue" and, according to some sources, slept in a
car he rented for $5/day. He was influenced by James Brown, Jimi Hendrix,
Bob marley and Led Zeppelin. In 1982, he graduated from high school. His
father, Sy Kravitz, financed his first steps into the music business.
In 1985, Lenny's parents divorced - a fact
that affected Lenny very deeply. A year later, Lenny moved to New York where
his girlfriend, the actress Lisa Bonet, worked on The Cosby Show. There,
Lenny met the recording engineer Henry Hirsch with whom he worked together
on his debut album, Let Love Rule.
In November 1987, Lisa and Lenny got
married in Las Vegas. A year later, their daughter ZoŽ was born. In 1989,
Let Love Rule was ready to be released by Virgin Records; Lisa had
contributed to the lyrics. The album encountered harsh words from critics
but the public liked the mix of soul and rock which ended up in the charts
(US#61, UK#56). Lenny said that he wanted to create an honest sound, which
sounded outdated to some listeners. He played most of the instruments on the album.
Lenny co-wrote the lyrics and produced
video Justify My Love. Rumors about a love affair between him an
Madonna and other infidelities by Lenny resulted in a schism between him
and Bonet in 1991 and ended with a divorce in 1993.
In 1991, his second album, Mama Said (US#39,
UK#8, Germany#20), was released. It was more introspective and sold platinum.
Its single It Ain't Over 'Til It's
Over was a hit (US#2, UK#11, Germany#43). In 1993, the third album, Are
You Gonna Go My Way (US#12, UK#1, Germany#7), was the first to be acclaimed by critics. The title song won an MTV Video Award for Best Male Video.
In 1992, Lenny produced an album for the French singer Vanessa Paradis on which he
played most of the instruments and wrote several lyrics. In 1993, Kravitz
wrote Line Up for Steven Tyler from Aerosmith. Together with Mick
Jagger, he recorded a new version of Use Me for Jagger's album Wandering
Spirit. Lenny also worked with Al Green and Curtis Mayfield.
1994, he released Spinning Around Over You, which
included five live tracks from his "Universal Love Tour". His
following album, Circus, was influenced by emotions about his
mother who was fighting cancer. It was released in the summer of 1995; his mother died
in the following December. Then, Lenny moved with his
daughter and grandmother to the Bahamas.
Lenny's next album, 5, includes the
hit singles Fly Away, which earned him a Grammy for Best
Male Rock Vocal Performance in 1999, Thinking Of You, dedicated to
his mother and Little Girl's Eyes, written for his daughter.
After a successful European tour, Lenny's
later editions of 5 included American
Woman, a song used in the film Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged
In 2000, Lenny Kravitz' Greatest Hits
were released. The fifteen titles include Are You Gonna Go My Way,
the ballad It Ain't Over 'Til It's Over, American Woman and I
Belong To You. The album's track Again won the 2001 Best Male
Rock Vocal Performance Grammy Award.