Lenny Kravitz talks new album, NYC roots and more

Lenny Kravitz always appears to exude confidence – whether he’s on the red carpet, on stage holding a guitar or elsewhere. Many have described him as the epitome of cool.

But Kravitz doesn’t feel burdened by other people’s expectations.

“You’re aware of the effect you have on people, or is this something you have to work at?” Gayle King asked Kravitz during a recent sitdown interview for “CBS Mornings.”

“I don’t work on it at all,” the musician said. “And I don’t think about it. But I am aware of people’s reaction.”

He spends most of his time focusing on making music. On Friday, the Grammy-winning artist is releasing his twelfth studio album, “Blue Electric Light.”

Inspirations behind new album

Kravitz says the inspiration for the album struck during the COVID-19 pandemic when he was at his home in the Bahamas. “Some music needs to sit,” Kravitz said, but this album poured out of him.

“I made about four albums while I was there. This is the one that I felt needed to come first. It felt very immediate. It felt like this was the beginning of the wave that I should be riding,” Kravitz explained.

The solitude helped Kravitz dig deep and create something honest.

“I think just being in the middle of nature, being left alone, being quiet really opened a portal for me,” he explained. 

Overcoming insecurities

In his new song, “Human,” Kravitz sings about embarking on a journey to live his truth.

“I think I was raised – not purposely, but to be a people pleaser. Where I put a lot of people’s feelings before mine. Because I want to see folks happy. And that can be detrimental if you go overboard with that,” Kravitz explained.

Kravitz said his daughter, Zoë Kravitz, who he shares with ex-wife and actor Lisa Bonet, has helped inspire him to start creating boundaries and learning how to say “no.”

Though he’s been in the music industry for more than three decades and appears confident, Kravitz said he still has insecurities.

“Sometimes I’m just not sure – necessarily sure what it is that I’m doing. For some reason, I’m still that 16-year-old kid trying to get the record deal,” he said.

“CBS Mornings” co-anchor Gayle King sits down with music legend Lenny Kravitz.

CBS Mornings

New York City roots

Kravitz thinks fondly of New York City, where he was born and raised. 

“I grew up being a New York kid. I took the subway at a young age – walking with your friends, taking cabs, you know? My mom taught me to be independent, you know?” he said.

He reflected on his mom, the late actress Roxie Roker, known for her role as Helen Willis on the popular CBS sitcom “The Jeffersons.” He said the show’s theme song still brings him joy.

“Every time I hear that song it…lifts me,” said Kravitz, adding that it brings back memories of being a kid seeing his mom film the show.

Before moving to Los Angeles, Roker would send Kravitz to an after-school program at Harlem School of the Arts in Manhattan. He recently visited the school and showed King where he first learned to play guitar – a room he hadn’t set foot in since he was around eight years old.

“It’s a trip,” Kravitz said.

“All I can do is really just feel how blessed,” he added. “That and how beautiful the journey has been.”

In many ways, Kravitz, who turns 60 on May 26, feels his journey is just getting started. He said he’s never felt so young.

“I don’t trip out on age,” he said. “I don’t understand the concept. And for me, look, you can be 30 years old and be destroyed, and you can be 90 years old and be young and vibrant.”

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