EBONY AND IVORY: Lenny Kravitz has integrated different musical styles, now he targets the people.
RIGA - The legendary rock musician, actor, multi-instrumentalist, composer, producer and arranger, 4-“Grammy”-award winner Lenny Kravitz, whose ‘retro’ style incorporates elements of rock, soul, R&B, funk, reggae, hard rock, psychedelic, folk and ballads will perform at Arena Riga on Nov. 11, as a part of his latest - ninth studio album’s “Black And White America” - tour.
Kravitz’ latest studio album “Black And White America” is the result of his last three years’ efforts. It contains 16 of his own composed and produced songs, which were created in the Bahamas and Paris. Lenny retains his album in the existing traditions, bringing together rock and funk elements of his characteristic guitar and vocals.
Leonard Albert “Lenny” Kravitz was born on May 26, 1964 in New York to the family of a Bahamian actress and Ukrainian Jewish news producer. When Lenny was only 3 years old, he already liked to produce music with pots and pans. When he reached 5 years of age, he already knew that he was going to become a musician and began playing drums, soon followed by guitar. An undeniable role in the boy’s development goes to his parents, who had a multifaceted musical taste – from R&B, jazz, teaching music, opera, gospel and ending with blues. “My parents were very supportive of my passion for music from an early age,” remembers Kravitz.
Kravitz always knew how to combine classic rock and funk with hard rock values, soul, reggae, folk, etc. musical styles. He is trying to follow the motto: “If you want to achieve a perfect result, do everything on your own!,” that’s why all instruments, [not to mention the singing] from guitars to drums, piano to saxophone, he plays, sings and records alone. This perfectionism is also reflected in his polished stage shows and music videos.
As a result, Lenny Kravitz’ creation is one of the few, that is much appreciated by both critics and colleagues, measured in millions of fans. He has released nine studio albums with overall sales of more than 35 million copies and has provided thousands of concerts around the globe.
Several compositions by Lenny have been on top of the U.S. Singles Charts (for example, “Again,” “American Woman,” “Fly Away,” “Dig In”); Kravitz is the only one who has won a “Grammy” Award 4 years in a row, and was nominated for this award seven times. Among his prizes are the American Music Award, MTV Video Music Award, Radio Music Award, Brit Awards, Blockbuster Entertainment Award and several other high profile prizes.
In parallel to his musical activity, Kravitz most recently was seen in Oscar-nominated films “Precious” and has just been approved for a role in Sinn Susan Collins’ world famous novel “Hunger Games.”
“Black and White America” was written in reaction to a documentary Kravitz saw about racism in post-Obama United States. Amidst the defiant lyrics, the songwriter references his own family history, and the experiences of his parents as an interracial couple in the 1960s. “People used to yell obscenities and spit at them,” he says, “and this was in New York City, not in the South. So it’s about me personally and about the situation with race in this country. Maybe we are beginning to move on, but there’s still a lot of people who want to hold onto their old ideas.”
Though the sonic emphasis of “Black and White America” may land squarely on funk, the force behind such guitar-driven smashes as “Fly Away” and “Are You Gonna Go My Way” hasn’t turned its back on rock. Songs like “Rock Star City Life,” and the first single “Stand” give this album a healthy dose of crunching riffs.
After so much time in creative lockdown, Kravitz is eager to take the “Black And White America” show on the road. First comes a handful of stadium dates, opening for U2, which will be followed by a lengthy international run of stadiums, arenas, and theaters, including the Baltics.
“Playing the new music live will be really inspiring,” says Kravitz. “I have an amazing band, including a full horn section and singers. We’re gonna come hard,” he says with a laugh.
For Lenny Kravitz, “Black and White America” represents a new peak in both the range and the focus of his music. “I think it’s the best work I’ve done to date,” he says. “It’s a great balance of where I’ve been, where I am and where I am going.”
Lenny Kravitz will perform at Arena Riga on Nov. 11 and at Zalgiris Arena in Kaunas on Nov. 12. Tickets are still available at www.bilesuserviss.lv or www.bilietupasaulis.lt