Lenny Kravitz Gibson Flying V Guitar

Lenny Kravitz Gibson Flying V Guitar

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Leonard Albert "Lenny" Kravitz (born May 26, 1964) is an American singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, record producer, and arranger whose "retro" style incorporates elements of rock, soul, funk, reggae, hard rock, psychedelic, folk and ballads.

In addition to singing lead and backing vocals, Kravitz often plays all the guitar, bass, drums, keyboards, and percussion himself when recording. He is known for his elaborate stage performances and music videos. Kravitz has had multiple number 1 hits on the US Top Singles Charts, though none by himself on the Hot 100, and many more worldwide. He won the Grammy Award for "Best Male Rock Vocal Performance" four years in a row from 1999 to 2002, breaking the record for most wins in that category and most consecutive wins in one category. He has been nominated and won other awards, namely American Music Awards, MTV Video Music Awards, Radio Music Awards, BRIT Awards and Blockbuster Entertainment Awards.


Kravitz grew up spending weekdays on the Upper East Side of Manhattan with his parents, and weekends at his grandmother Bessie Roker's house in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn. Kravitz began banging on pots and pans in the kitchen, playing them as drums at the age of three. At the age of five, he wanted to be a musician. He began playing the drums and soon added guitar. Kravitz grew up listening to the music his parents listened to: R&B, jazz, classical, opera, gospel, and blues. "My parents were very supportive of the fact that I loved music early on, and they took me to a lot of shows," Kravitz said. Around the age of 7, he saw The Jackson 5 perform at Madison Square Garden, which became his favorite group. His father, who was also a jazz promoter, was friends with Duke Ellington, Sarah Vaughan, Count Basie, Ella Fitzgerald, Bobby Short, Miles Davis and other jazz greats. Ellington even played "Happy Birthday" for him one year when he was about 5. He was exposed to the soul music of Motown, Stax, James Brown, Aretha Franklin, Al Green, Stevie Wonder, Curtis Mayfield, Gladys Knight, The Isley Brothers and Gamble and Huff growing up, key influences on his musical style. Kravitz often went to see New York theater, where his mother worked. His mother encouraged his dreams of pursuing music.

In 1974, the Kravitz family relocated to Los Angeles when Kravitz's mother landed her role on The Jeffersons. At his mother's urging, Kravitz joined the California Boys Choir for three years, where he performed a classical repertoire, and sang with the Metropolitan Opera. He performed in Mahler's Third Symphony at the Hollywood Bowl. It was in Los Angeles that Kravitz was first introduced to rock music, listening to Led Zeppelin, Kiss, Aerosmith, Jimi Hendrix, Pink Floyd, Cream, and The Who. "I was attracted to the cool style, the girls, the rock 'n' roll lifestyle," Kravitz said. Kravitz's other musical influences at the time included Fela Kuti, Bill Withers, Marvin Gaye and Miles Davis; John Lennon and Bob Marley proved later to be influential as well. Kravitz attended Beverly Hills High School. Maria McKee and guitarist Saul Hudson (better known as Slash) were his classmates. In 1978, Kravitz was accepted into the school's well-respected music program. He taught himself to play piano and bass, and made friends with Zoro who would later become his long-time collaborator. Kravitz wanted to be a session musician. He also appeared as an actor in television commercials during this time.

Kravitz went to school enough to pass, but was spending more and more time jamming with friends. His parents became concerned, wanting him to have something to fall back on. At the age of 15, determined to have a music career, Kravitz moved out of his house. He stayed with friends, slept in friends' cars, and at one point was even sleeping in his Ford Pinto. Inspired by David Bowie, Kravitz adopted the nom de guerre, "Romeo Blue," a new persona complete with straightened hair and blue contact lenses, and began performing. Kravitz's music at this time was heavily influenced by the synth-laden funk pop of Prince. In 1982, Kravitz graduated from Beverly Hills High School and convinced his father to give him money to record instead of spending money on college. With his first demo, Kravitz received offers from several record labels, including I.R.S. Records, but Kravitz was told he needed to change his music to make it "black enough" to fit in with current radio-friendly R & B styles. "I refused," Kravitz told the Los Angeles Times in 1989.