Described by Billboard as possessing “unwavering cool,” by The Independent as “the last of the great rock stars,” by Men’s Health as “the last mass-cultural rock star still standing” and by VH1 as one of the 100 all-time greatest artists of hard rock, Kravitz has sold more than 40 million records, had two singles crack the top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100 and three albums crack the top 10 of the Billboard 200 and been nominated for nine Grammys, winning four — in the same category, best male rock vocal performance, four years in a row, a record — for “Fly Away” in 1999, “American Woman” in 2000, “Again” in 2001 and “Dig In” in 2002.
His influence has been and continues to be felt by generations of musicians who have followed him. Jay-Z, one of his closest friends and biggest admirers, has said, “There would be no Tyler the Creator without Lenny Kravitz,” and Steve Lacy has called Kravitz his “role model.”
Now, just a few months shy of his 60th birthday, Kravitz is having something of a resurgence. For “Road to Freedom,” an original song that he wrote for the Netflix film Rustin, he received on Monday his first-ever Golden Globe nomination and next month could well land his first-ever Oscar nomination. Last week, he performed it for President Joe Biden and Biden supporters at a big Hollywood fundraiser and also on Jimmy Kimmel’s show. Before the end of the year, he will receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. And then, in March of 2024, he is set to release his twelfth studio album, Blue Electric Light, and tour the world with it.
Over the course of a conversation at Netflix’s L.A. offices, Kravitz reflected on what it was like for him growing up biracial and half-Jewish and how music became a central part of his life from a very early age, why he turned down a rich record deal even when he was living out of a rented car after leaving home at 15 and then ultimately signed with a label that admitted it wasn’t sure what to do with him, the resistance that he encountered from music critics even as his popularity soared with the release of early singles like “Let Love Rule” and “It Ain’t Over Til It’s Over” and the origin stories of his other greatest hits, plus much more.
This story originally appeared on HollywoodReporter