Early LifeHe was born in New York the son of Jewish Hollywood producer Sy Kravitz and Bahamian actress Roxie Roker (of The Jeffersons), Lenny grew up in wealth. His parents moved to California Having taught himself bass, piano, guitar, and drums at an early age and developed his singing voice in the California Boys Choir and the Metropolitan Opera, he attended Beverly Hills High School and performed under the artist name, Romeo Blue. At that stage, he was heavily influenced by Prince. His parents were friends with jazz greats Duke Ellington, Sarah Vaughan, Count Basie, Ella Fizgerald, Bobby Short and Miles Davis so he grew up in a musical household although he would pursue a career in rock rather than jazz.
In the late 1980's, Kravitz returned to New York to pursue a musical career. He ended sharing a house with Lisa Bonet who played Denise Huxtable on The Cosby Show. The two would fall in love and would marry. In New York, Kravitz would broaden his influences beyond Prince to classic rock and soul artists such as Hendrix, the Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Stevie Wonder, Curtis Mayfield and Bob Marley. He signed a contract with Virgin Records.
Early CareerHis 1989 debut album Let Love Rule was an moderate success reaching #61 on the Billboard album charts. The title track would reach #89 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #5 on the modern rock charts. The second single "I Build This Garden" reached #25 on the modern rock charts.
Kravitz gined greater recognition with Madonna reaching number one with a cover version of his song, "Justify My Love" on her Immaculate Collection album of 1990. Unfortunately, Kravitz's marriage to Lisa Bonet would end in the same year.
His next album, Mama Said in 2001 reached the top 40 of the Billboard album charts and songs on the album were influenced by his divorce from bonet. It contained the hit single "It Ain't Over Til It's Over" that reached #2 on the charts and #10 on the Billboard r&b charts. "Always On The Run" featured Slash of Guns n' Roses reached #8 on the modern rock charts and #40 on the mainstream rock charts. "Stand By My Woman" reached the lower reaches of the Billboard Hot 100 while "What Comes Around Goes Around" reached the top 40 of the Billboard r&b chart. The album would also feature a contribution by Sean Lennon which was Lennon's first appearance on record.
In 1993, Are You Gonna Go My Way was released reaching #12 on the Billboard 200 and earned a Brit Award for best international male artist in 1994. The title track won a MTV Video Music Award for Best Male Video for the video produced by Mark Romanek. The single would reach #1 on the Australian and Billboard mainstream rock charts and #2 on the modern rock charts. Several singles from the album would follow including:
- "Believe" #60 on the Billboard Hot 100, #15 on the mainstream rock charts and #10 on the modern rock charts;
- "Is There Any Love In Your Heart" would reach #19 on the mainstream rock charts; and
- "Heaven Help/Spinning Around Over You" reached #80 on the Billboard Hot 100 and "Heaven Help" reached #92 on the Billboard Hot 100.
Later careerWith 5 (1998), Kravitz embraced digital technology such as synthesizers and tape loops for the first time. 5 introduced Kravitz's music to an even wider audience, particularly in Europe, because "Fly Away" had been featured prominently in both car manufacturer and airline commercials. 5 would reach #28 on the Billboard 200 with "Fly Away" would reach #12 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1999 and #1 on the modern and mainstream charts. He would win the first of his four consecutive Grammy for Best Male Rock Vocal Performance in the Grammy Awards of 1999. Other hits from the album included:
- "If You Can't Say No" reached the top 40 on the Billboard mainstream rock chart in 1999 - dance producer Brian Transeau would remix the track; and
- "I Belong To you" would reach #76 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #15 on the Billboard adult chart in 2000
Lenny Kravitz would release a 15 track Greatest Hits compilation. It would prove to be his most successful album reaching #2 on the Billboard 200 and Canadian album charts and achieve triple platinum status. The single "Again" would reach #4 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #1 on a world adult composite chart (based on the US, UK, Canada, Germany, France and Australia) and US adult chart. The track would also earn him his third consecutive Grammy in the Best Male Rock Vocal in the Grammy Awards of 2001.
Kravitz released his sixth album Lenny in October 2001. It reached #12 on the Billboard 200 and #9 on the Canadian charts. The first single from the album "Dig In" reached #31 on the Billboard 200 and went top ten in the world adult and US adult charts. It also reached #1 in Argentina, went top 5 in Portugal and top 10 in Italy. It would also win him his fourth consecutive Grammy for Best Male Rock Vocal in the Grammy Awards of 2002. Subsequent singles included:
- "Stillness of Heart" went top 10 in Italy, top 20 in the US and world adult charts and Argentina and top 40 in Canada and the UK;
- "Believe in Me reached #1 in Portugal, went top 10 in the Netherlands, top 20 in Italy and Germany and reached the top 100 world sales and airplay charts; and
- "If I Could Fall In Love" reached the US adult top 40.
In early 2003, Kravitz released the track "We Want Peace" as a download-only track as a protest against the 2003 invasion of Iraq. The track reached #1 on the world internet download charts and MP3.com download chart. Kravitz will also be appearing on Unity, the official album of the 2004 Athens Olympics.
Kravitz's seventh album Baptism was released on March 18 2004. On his website, Kravitz says that he chose the title because "I've made my first record all over again. That's how it feels, as pure as the beginning." Baptism would debut at number 14 on the US album charts, in the top 50 of the Australian album charts and in the top 75 of the UK album charts. The first single "Where Are We Running" has reached #69 on the Billboard Hot 100, top 25 on a composite European chart and top 20 on Internet charts, Argentina, Italy and the world and US top 20 as at the end of May 2004.