Lenny Kravitz is an American rock singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, record producer, actor and arranger, whose “retro” style incorporates elements of rock, soul, R&B, funk, reggae, hard rock, psychedelic, folk and ballads. In addition to singing lead and backing vocals, Kravitz often plays all the guitar, bass, drums, keyboards and percussion himself when recording. He is known for his elaborate stage performances and music videos.
Kravitz has had multiple number 1 hits on the US Top Singles Charts, though none by himself on the Hot 100, and many more worldwide. He won the Grammy Award for "Best Male Rock Vocal Performance" four years in a row from 1999 to 2002, breaking the record for most wins in that category and most consecutive wins in one category for a male. He has been nominated for and won other awards, including American Music Awards, MTV Video Music Awards, Radio Music Awards, BRIT Awards and Blockbuster Entertainment Awards. On December 1, 2011, Kravitz was made an Officer of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres.
Kravitz has released nine studio albums, one greatest hits compilation album, four box set compilation albums, two extended plays, forty-nine singles and eight video albums, including one single, three of which are live. All of Kravitz's albums have received certifications of gold or higher in the U.S., three of which have been declared multi-platinum. He has earned three gold albums, two platinum albums, two double platinum albums, and one triple platinum album.
Kravitz's debut album, Let Love Rule, released in 1989, peaked at #61 in the U.S., and while receiving generally positive reviews, it became a huge success in Europe but took a long time to reach success in the U.S. Its followers, Mama Said, in 1991 and Are You Gonna Go My Way, in 1993 became instant hits, being considered some of the finest recordings of the decade and achieving platinum and multi-platinum status.
Circus was released in 1995, but failed to chart and remains his least successful album to date. Kravitz embraced a fresh outlook towards his career in his next album, 5,, which was released in 1998, and also experimented with electronic equipment such as pro-tools.
In 2000, Greatest Hits would prove to become Kravitz's most successful album to date, going on to sell over 10.5 million copies worldwide. In 2001, Lenny would prove to be a very fast seller and managed to win Kravitz his fourth consecutive Grammy. However his next album, Baptism, would prove to be somewhat of a commercial disappointment for the multi-platinum selling artist when compared to its predecessors. Most recently, his 2008 release It Is Time For A Love Revolution had Kravitz realising some of the best début positions and opening sales weeks worldwide in years, along with his best critical reviews since Lenny.
In addition to writing and producing all of his own work, Kravitz has produced albums for other artists, He personally has scored three Top 10 albums in the U.S., while having reached number one in both the UK and Australia. Considered one of the most successful and best-selling rock artists of his time, Kravitz has had sales of approximately 40 million albums alone worldwide.
Kravitz's next album, Black and White America, was released in August 2011. On December 1, 2011, Kravitz was honored with one of the highest cultural awards in France when he was made an Officer of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by French cultural minister Frederic Mitterrand in Paris. Kravitz joins other American recipients such as Martin Scorsese, George Clooney, and Bob Dylan.