Lenny Kravitz has done just about all there is to do in his music career. He's been a rockstar and a pop star, he's toured the world, he's produced hit albums, he's collaborated with his heroes, he's accumulated priceless pieces of music history and he's still going.
Music is just what Kravitz does. He does it authentically and honestly. And if there was ever a time when he was in music in order to get something or to prove himself, that's behind him. Now music is as much a necessity for his soul as it is a reflex, just like blinking or breathing.
At some point over the last year, Kravitz knew it was time to start writing again, but he was rudderless. He was writing music, he tells Q104.3 New York's "Out of the Box" with Jonathan Clarke, but he didn't yet have a story to tell.
"It actually wasn't a writer's block, it was more conceptual," Kravitz explains. "I wasn't sure which direction to go in. So I was writing, I was doing stuff, but it wasn't feeling right. I just knew that I needed to just chill out for a minute and really trust the creative process. And sometimes part of that process is being still and being quiet so you can hear what you're...[being] given."
And chill out he did at his Bahamas abode. Weeks went by and then the singer awoke in the middle of the night with his elusive concept.
"After maybe a month or so, I woke up in the middle of the night with a song in my head, which is normally how it starts," Kravitz recalls. "I ran to the studio...started working on it and I realized this was the beginning of where I was to go in a very natural way. Once you begin doing that, the floodgates open and all of this music came. I dreamt the whole record, and that's what's beautiful about it. That's the real expression to me."
The result was Kravitz's forthcoming Raise Vibration album. He said the record represents who he is now. To make it, he utilized contributions from and memories of people like Michael Jackson, Johnny Cash and June Carter.
The song "Low" features background vocals from the King of Pop himself. Kravitz says the tracks came out of sessions between himself and Jackson from years ago.
Of Cash and Carter, Kravitz says he began singing a melody during his writing process that for some reason called up a long-dormant memory of when the two country music icons comforted him following the death of his mother.
"Obviously it's a memory of a time when I really felt the love and hug of a human being in that; it was very deep," Kravitz said. "And so I'm singing to this woman [in the song], saying 'Just hold me like Johnny Cash.' It's such an odd lyric, but in the end when it was finished, I think it's one of the most beautiful songs I've written."
Watch the full interview above!
Raise Vibration is due out this September via BMG.
Until then, get all of Lenny Kravitz's tour dates here.
Here’s the official video for the song “It’s Enough” from the upcoming new album: