Extra-long careers are increasingly rare, as rock star status is reserved for a handful of crazy musicians, often as eccentric as they are prolific. Inspired by his idols, Jimi Hendrix, Bob Marley and John Lennon, Lenny Kravitz has always infused a heavy dose of rock into his retro soul. And while his music is perceived by some as a bit insipid or lacking originality – a mainstream roar with overly obvious references – the 50-something makes it work every time, undoubtedly thanks to his irresistible groove. In 2000, the native New Yorker celebrated 11 years of hits with a 'best of' album, followed by Baptism (2004), Black and White America (2011) and Strut (2014). Today he is promoting Raise Vibration, his 11th opus, of which It’s Enough, a resolutely vintage pamphlet in which he is moved by the state of the world, is the first extract. Lenny Kravitz, like a Mick Jagger with afro hair, enjoys wandering through the streets of Paris in his crocodile shoes and over-sized scarves, his gaze hidden behind a pair of aviator shades. As the last hippie of the Instagram era, the multi-instrumentalist producer won four Grammys in a row and sold 40 million copies of his ten albums, much to the chagrin of his detractors. With almost 30 years of career in the bag, its high time to ask the question, why is Lenny Kravitz still so cool?
1. International hits :
Before he signed with Virgin, his friends called him Romeo Blue, “a great name for a silly little singer in a rock movie” to quote the man himself in an interview with Numero. Today Lenny Kravitz is loading an arsenal of groove forged by decades of major tracks, from Let Love Rule (1989) to his American Woman of 1999. The artist has allowed himself pop-rock interludes in the style of I’ll Be Waiting (2008) but has also seized upon a rocker’s frenzy, plunging back into the depths of his childhood funk. A confirmed musician, Lenny Kravitz composes each instrument on all his albums and uses vintage equipment to obtain a precise sonorous colour, which explains how he’s always kept that resolutely sixties soul, from a simple guitar riff to the final mastering. On stage, accompanied by his hairy guitarist and bald bass player, Lenny Kravitz show is Dantesque, crashing between new tracks and international hits. With this abundance of energy, he once even fainted on stage mid-performance on tour in the USA.