Lenny Kravitz at 60: back and better than ever


I have been whisked down the emergency stairs of a plush hotel overlooking Wembley Stadium. Semi-darkness and a reverent hush give the fifteenth floor the air of a museum housing a priceless cultural artefact. Which, in a sense, it is.

‘What's up?’ says an impossibly chiselled figure, rising from the void.

What is up?

‘You tell me. Something's going on here.’ Then those infamous sunglasses flip off and the artefact comes to life, with a gentle grin and a twinkle in his eye: Lenny Kravitz, irradiating this rain-lashed corner of north London with benevolent rock divinity.

‘Something’ is indeed going on. We’re speaking ahead of Kravitz’s Pepsi Kick Off Show at the UEFA Champions League Final, beamed live to over 100 million people: his first time at the football, as well his first London show in five years.

The musician, actor, and fashion icon turned 60 last week – days after releasing his twelfth album – and appears more comfortable than ever in his leather trousers and leopard print boots.

Lenny Kravitz headlining the UEFA Champions League Kick Off Show (Pepsi)
Lenny Kravitz headlining the UEFA Champions League Kick Off Show (Pepsi)

A live broadcast from a major sporting event seems a high-octane start to a European tour- even after four decades in the spotlight. Naturally, Kravitz is philosophical.

“Every performance is important. No matter what size it is, you're there for the people, and you've got to give everything that you have. But the kickoff show is very exciting,” he concedes. “When you put sports and music together, people together…’  Was that why he picked it?

“It just all worked out, timing wise. They called in, Blue Electric Light [his new album] came out last week, the tour starts in a few weeks.” Serendipity? “Exactly. Yeah. It's the universe.”

Kravitz and the universe have a fruitful relationship. The multi-hyphenate sees himself as an “antenna” for its messages: while lesser mortals grapple with writer’s block, his is a spiritual process of waiting to receive the music. Heading into his seventh decade as a rock icon, he remains awed by the experience.

“The process is the same. I wait. And it comes to me, and I play all the instruments.... But I think I'm having even more fun. To still be hungry and motivated and inspired, and have this feeling of freshness, of a new beginning – it’s a gift. And I'm not jaded, I'm not used to it or tired of it. It's a blessing. Same as when I began.”

Kravitz’s image has remained remarkably constant since he hit the charts in 1989. It all seems so effortless: the ageless good looks, the proficiency on dozens of instruments, the rippling abs that he showcased in a nude music video last autumn. Not bad for someone eligible for TFL’s senior discount.

I wonder about the psychological pressures of being a muscle-bound Dorian Grey. “It's all sacrifice. You want to be healthy, body, mind and spirit – you have to sacrifice.” Including his sex life, he revealed last week: Kravitz has been celibate for nearly a decade as part of what he calls a spiritual journey.

Beneath the rock star regalia, he is, of course, human. In his 2020 memoir, Let Love Rule, Kravitz recalled darker moments: homelessness, losing his virginity to an adult at 13, in a culturally rich childhood as the son of a sitcom star and an NBC producer, who recruited Duke Ellington for his fifth birthday.

I have a great amount of discipline for doing what I do – in my art, in my life.

Lenny Kravitz

“You have to sacrifice,” he repeats. “There's a great amount of discipline to do the things that are good for you and right for you, and not do the things that may be fun, or fill a hole at that moment.”

Despite Kravitz’s hypnotically calm demeanour and faith in the universe, hit songs, a perennial six pack, and a role in The Hunger Games don’t just fall into one’s lap.

“I have a great amount of discipline for doing what I do – in my art, in my life. That was given to me by my grandfather, Mason: he became the head of his household at nine, with a sick mother and four brothers and sisters to provide for.”

Mason became a father aged “16 or 17”, to future Cosby Show star Roxy Roker. “He was a man that was about discipline and hard work, creating a life for everybody, which created my life.”

Kravitz, of course, created life of his own, in the form of actor daughter Zoë, who found herself on New York Magazine’s infamous ‘Year of the Nepo Baby’ cover in 2022.

Unlike other musicians in his age group, Kravitz doesn’t seem particularly worried about his legacy. Perhaps that’s because he’s always found a way to honour the past, and link it to the present, through his art: whether through his love of vintage instruments, or his devotion to his grandfather’s work ethic. Or perhaps, as with many of his successes, he’s actually working furiously on it in private. (He recently did a 90-minute workout at 2am.)

What’s next for Lenny Kravitz? (Pepsi)
What’s next for Lenny Kravitz? (Pepsi)

What now, as he heads into the next stage of his career? After turns in front of the camera, both as an actor and a documentary subject, Kravitz is making his own film, although he’s tight-lipped on details. His 60th birthday, which doubled as an album party, drew the likes of Naomi Campbell, Salma Hayek, and Chris Rock. But to Kravitz, the best part was “the opportunity to spend [the day] with the people that I care about and love”. For now, with a recently acquired star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and a tour to execute, he seems content to enjoy the blessings the universe has bestowed, and quietly assured that more are on their way.