Who Is Lenny Kravitz?
Musician Lenny Kravitz's first album, Let Love Rule, was released in 1989. In 1998, his album Five won him his first Grammy Award. In 2004, his album Baptism expressed his renewed enthusiasm for making music. Baptism was followed by the albums It is Time for a Love Revolution (2008) and Black and White America (2011). In 2009, Kravitz made his screen debut in the film Precious.
Leonard Albert Kravitz, known to most as Lenny Kravitz, was born on May 26, 1964, in Brooklyn, New York. An only child, Kravitz is the product of an interracial marriage. His father, Sy Kravitz, is Jewish; his mother, Roxie Roker, who died of cancer in 1995, was African American. As a bi-racial child in the 1960s, endured an onslaught of prejudicial remarks.
Kravitz was raised in a wealthy home environment. His father is a television producer, and his mother played Helen Willis on the popular television sitcom The Jeffersons. When the family moved to Hollywood for Roxie's role, Kravitz, who had developed a passion for music at an early age, joined the California Boys Choir. Displaying his raw talent on several instruments, Kravitz was also accepted into the music program at Beverly Hills High School. He graduated in 1982.
Early Musical Career
After graduation, Kravitz left home. Calling himself "Romeo Blue," he hit the road to try to make it big in the music business. Despite his parents' celebrity connections, Kravitz was determined to succeed on his own merit. The early years of his musical career were anything but glamorous. Kravitz lived out of a car that he rented for $5 a day. In 1985, while still struggling to land his big break, Kravitz was deeply saddened by the news of his parents' divorce.
The following year, Kravitz relocated to New York City. It was there that he met actress Lisa Bonet, who was starring as Denise Huxtable on The Cosby Show at the time. Kravitz and Bonet fell in love and quickly moved in together. In November 1987, the couple eloped in Vegas. Back in New York, Lenny had the good fortune to meet recording engineer Henry Hirsh. It was the opportunity that Kravitz had been looking for. By 1989, his debut album, Let Love Rule, was about to be released by Virgin Records—just as Kravitz and his wife, Lisa, welcomed their daughter Zoë into the world.
Kravitz's first album, Let Love Rule, was released in 1989 and ranked No. 61 on the Billboard charts. The title track made No. 89 on Billboard's Hot 100. While Kravitz's debut album, which exemplified his own eclectic blend of rock influences, was moderately successful, he didn't achieve widespread fame until Madonna covered his song, "Justify My Love," in 1990. As Kravitz was rising to stardom, his marriage to Bonet disintegrated and the couple later divorced in the early 1990s.
Kravitz put out his sophomore album, Mama Said, in 1991. The album, inspired by his painful divorce, made the Top 40 on the Billboard charts. The song "It Ain't Over Til It's Over" was a huge hit, ranking as high as No. 2 on the charts.
In 1993, Kravitz released Are you Gonna Go My Way and snagged an MTV Video Music Award for his video of the album's title track. Circus (1995) rose to No. 10 on the Billboard charts, as fans of Kravitz's past work clamored to purchase his latest album. When creating his album Five (1998), Kravitz began toying with digital technology. The experiment proved a huge success, landing him his first Grammy Award for best male rock vocal performances.
In 2000, Kravitz released a greatest hits compilation album. Two years later, he was invited to appear on a Guns N' Roses track. The following year, he released a new album, Lenny.
Kravitz protested the U.S. invasion of Iraq by releasing a download-only song called "We Want Peace" in 2003. His 2004 album, Baptism, expressed his renewed enthusiasm for making music. Baptism was followed by the albums It is Time for a Love Revolution (2008) and Black and White America (2011).
In 2009, Kravitz made his big-screen debut in the Oscar-nominated movie Precious. He also had a small part in the film The Hunger Games (2012). In recent years, he moved to a tiny island in the Bahamas—where he has found peace and inspiration in living simply.
In 2013, Kravitz returned to the big screen with the Lee Daniels film The Butler starring Forest Whitaker and Oprah Winfrey. He also wrote a song for the film's soundtrack. Later that year, Kravitz reprised his Hunger Games role in the trilogy's next installment Catching Fire.
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