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Known as an elaborate stage performer and all round musician on guitar, bass, drums, keyboards and percussion, Lenny Kravitz is a singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, record producer, actor and arranger. His unique sound pulls from elements of rock, soul, R&B, funk, reggae, hard rock, psychedelic, folk and ballads. His music is not to be pigeon-holed to a single style, but as one that draws from such genres as soul, funk, reggae, hard rock, psychedelic, folk, and ballads
Born Leonard Albert Kravitz, "Lenny" is the son of Roxie Roker, an actress known for her character Helen Willis in the 1970s hit television sitcom The Jeffersons, and Sy Kravitz, an NBC television news producer. His ethnic parentage filled him with a deep love of music and schooled him in the beauty of absorbing from both worlds. Named after his uncle, Private First Class Leonard Kravitz, who was killed in action in the Korean War at age 20 while defending against a Chinese attack and saving most of his platoon. Kravitz grew up spending weekdays on the Upper East Side of Manhattan with his parents and weekends at his grandmother Bessie Roker's house in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn. He told the Los Angeles Times, "On weekdays I hung out with my ritzy friends in our ritzy neighborhood in New York. But on weekends I went to my grandmother's house in Brooklyn--in Bed-Stuy--which is a rough-tough black area. Both sides were completely normal to me. I dealt with it all." In Harper's Bazaar he said, "The folks in Bed-Stuy were much more open and sharing--even though they had much less to share. It was just good, down-home black hospitality."
Kravitz grew up in Los Angeles and was a member of the California Boys Choir until his teenage years, when he was heavily influence by funk rocker Prince which drew him to rock & roll. Bringing to this explosive, driving sound was his extensive childhood background where he found himself around countless musical giants due to his parent’s friendships with the likes of Duke Ellington, Sarah Vaughan, Count Basie, Ella Fitzgerald, Bobby Short, and Miles Davis. His parents listened to R&B, jazz, classical, opera, gospel, and blues; his favorite group became The Jackson 5 after seeing them perform at Madison Square Garden when he was 7. Another new sound filled him from soul music of Motown, Stax, James Brown, Aretha Franklin, Al Green, Stevie Wonder, Curtis Mayfield, Gladys Knight, The Isley Brothers and Gamble and Huff.
Supported by his parents, he was surrounded and immersed in music’s cultural riches which encouraged exploration of multiple genres as he built musicianship skills. Through these vast opportunities, Kravitz evolved his own artistic voice which has led him to multiple number 1 hits on the US Top Singles Charts and many more worldwide. He won the Grammy Award "Best Male Rock Vocal Performance" four years in a row from 1999 to 2002. His international recognition includes being made an Officer of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in 2011 and Kravitz, the actor, plays the role of Cinna in the film The Hunger Games.
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Lenny Kravitz is a singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, record producer, actor and arranger whose sound pulls from elements of rock, soul, R&B, funk, reggae, hard rock, psychedelic, folk and ballads.
National Museum of African American Music
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The National Museum of African American Music will stand as an international iconic cultural museum dedicated to the vast contributions African Americans have made in music.