8 apr 2024

Confessions of rock and fashion icon Lenny Kravitz

Numéro caught up with rock star Lenny Kravitz a few months before the release of his twelfth studio album, Blue Electric Light. While the singer who sold forty million albums has inaugurated his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame last March and has been nominated as a 2024 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee, he also stands as the global ambassador of the Y fragrance franchise by Yves Saint Laurent Beauté.

Interview by Alexis Thibault.

Blue Electric Light, Lenny Kravitz’s twelfth studio album


The concert lasted almost three hours… Yet, the audience seemed even more exhausted than the main character of the story, rock star Lenny Kravitz, who will soon be celebrating his sixtieth birthday… In the sold-out, overheated Accor Arena, the American musician ended his thunderous performance with Let Love Rule, a track from his eponymous debut album released in September 1989. Since nothing will ever be enough with Lenny Kravitz, the singer put down his guitar and left the stage to walk across a dazed crowd, like a prophet of a new genre. He even reached the farthest stands – no jealousy that night.


On March 13th, 2024, a portion of the Hollywood Boulevard finally read “Lenny Kravitz”. The singer inaugurated his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, Los Angeles’ infamous sidewalk featuring the names of numerous artists from the entertainment industry. He will also be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame later this year. Actor, musician, producer and true fashion icon, Lenny Kravitz remains that perfect-looking guy that everyone worships. As he prepares the release of his twelfth studio album, Blue Electric Light, Numéro caught up with Yves Saint Laurent Beauté’s global ambassador for the Y fragrance franchise, which includes the brand-new perfume Y L’Elixir.

Interview with Lenny Kravitz, global ambassador of Yves Saint Laurent Beauté’s Y fragrances


Numéro: “Global ambassador of Yves Saint Laurent Beauté’s Y fragrances”. You’ve got to admit, that’s a pretty sweet title… What makes you feel so close to this house? Lenny Kravitz: I’ve been interested in the creations of Mr. Yves Saint Laurent since I was a teenager. My own mother [actress Roxie Roker] used to wear his clothes and perfumes. So the house has always been part of my life. Even today, I feel like it matches well with my image and personality.


Most of your concerts last almost three hours, and you usually end up walking across the crowd or to the furthest stands from the stage. Would you be able to end a performance without feeling exhausted?

I’ve always struggled with the idea of a separation between the stage and the audience. I really need to create a connection with the people who bring my music to life. As time goes by, I think that I’m looking to develop that connection even further. To be honest, I’m currently working on my new tour, and this is the main topic of discussion with my team – how can I go even further? The experience of live performances is clearly what I enjoy the most.


You appear completely naked in your 2K421 video, released in October 2023. How quirky is this exhibitionism?
[Laughs.] It wasn’t my idea, but that of Tanu Muino, the video director. I have known her through her work on Rosalía’s music video for Chicken Teriyaki (2022). I immediately wanted to collaborate with her, so I sent her one of my new tracks, TK421, and we discussed it at length. She was planning to shoot a video at my place in Paris, something “quite personal and rather in my vibe”. She suggested filming my morning routine, but I wasn’t really buying into that idea. Actually, I found it rather boring… She just wanted me to act natural and to not take myself so seriously, like when you’re alone, fooling around behind closed doors at home. We simply went a little further!

“Paris is my city of choice. It’s the most beautiful city in the world!” Lenny Kravitz


The music video was shot in your Parisian home. Is this the city you feel most at home in?
I actually live in three different places. My main residence is in the Bahamas, where my mother was born, and where I spent most of my childhood. It’s a very pleasant place to live…


Really? I would have never imagined…

[Laughs.] I’ve been living there for a very long time now. My Parisian residence is the only one in an urban environment… So, Paris is my city of choice. It’s the most beautiful city in the world!


This year marks the release of your twelfth studio album, Blue Electric Light. How did you manage to come up with something so different from your previous albums?
I had absolutely no idea what I was going to do at first. It always happens that way – I let the creative spirit guide me. Even if I had tried, I couldn’t repeat myself. I’m unable to do that. I think that each record has its own sound. Besides, writing always comes in different forms. I compose the songs and play each instrument myself, but I must say that sometimes I have to call my guitarist or saxophonist for help because I don’t play the saxophone…


“I was already into clothes as a seven-year-old kid.” Lenny Kravitz


Is your distinctive style and eternal youth the result of a teenage angst? Do you fear not being perfect at all times?
Oh I’m far from perfect unfortunately! But I admit that I’ve always been very focused on my health and well-being. I love doing sport, it makes me feel better in my body. I train six days a week! It’s my secret for staying young and nimble. I also try to eat as healthily as possible. Everything I put into my body is 100% natural, even though I don’t hide the fact that I treat myself with a few drinks now and then. And to answer your initial question, there’s indeed a teenage secret behind it. When I was in high school, I fell in love with a girl who was a vegetarian and ate organic food only. I wanted to do what she did when we finally got together…


Were you already a big fashion aficionado back then?

You know, I was already into clothes as a seven-year-old kid. I wasn’t afraid of being different, quite the contrary. I drew my inspiration from my mother, the Jackson Five and Miles Davis, who used to be married to Cicely Tyson [from 1981 to 1989], my godmother and one of my mother’s best friends. So I grew up with Miles, whom I almost considered as my own godfather. I found him both interesting and incredibly stylish.


If you could live a whole week in the universe of a movie, which one would you choose?
Probably a world similar to that of The Wizard of Oz. Something really wild and psychedelic [Laughs.]


Blue Electric Light [BMG Entertainment] by Lenny Kravitz, coming out on May 24th, 2024.


Traductions Emma Naroumbo Armaing