Lenny Kravitz is busy. Just turned 51, he’s still looking like the rock sex symbol he’s always been, and he’s also expanding his artistic horizons as a photographer, an actor and a designer.
But in an interview this week with AFP in Paris, the city that he half calls home (along with his other place in the Bahamas), he admits there is one thing missing, something he sings about the most: love.
“I’ve sacrificed certain things for my artform,” he says.
“Between the music… the photography, the acting, and the design company that I run, it’s pretty much 24/7,” he says.
“But I can feel that it’s time — you know, those things will continue, because I love them — but I need to make room for a new personal life.”
It might seem surprising from a guy who’s been linked to a long line of beauties, from his wife between 1987 and 1993, Lisa Bonet, to a subsequent string of stunning girlfriends: French singer Vanessa Paradis, Australian singers Kylie Minogue and Natalie Imbruglia, Brazilian model Adriana Lima and Australian actress Nicole Kidman.
But now, as he puts it, “I’m waiting to see what happens — I’m a free man.”
He adds: “There’s times you say, ‘Man, I’d love to be married again, and I’d love to have a family’ and all of these things. But I’ve sacrificed that for all of these things that I do.”
There are no regrets, though. That’s not Kravitz’s style.
“I don’t have regrets, because that would mean I’m not trusting in what’s to be. So I think that I learned from the past, and that will help me to be ready for what’s coming in the future. But no, no regret, no regret. I’m pretty good at that.”
– ‘No, no regret’ –
And so Kravitz is busy. On several fronts at once.
The musician part of him — the one that sang hits such as 1991’s “It Ain’t Over ’til It’s Over” and 1998’s “Fly Away” — brought out his 10th album, “Strut”, late last year, filled with trademark soul, rock and keening vocals partnered with electric guitar. He’s been on the Strut concert tour since then, with the European leg to start next week.
At the same time, he’s taken up photography. A collection of his black-and-white snaps, depicting fans taking pictures of him, is being exhibited in a trendy boutique on Paris’s most upmarket shopping street.
“I was determined to start shooting,” he says, but as he went out with a camera he was mobbed by people who recognised him and wanted to make him the subject of their photos.
At first he saw it as “a nuisance”, but then he decided to turn it into a subject in itself: the famous looking back at the fans.
“I said, well if this is what I’m being offered, this (is) what I’ll shoot,” Kravitz says. “People were sort of thrown off, didn’t know how to react to it.”
Prices for his limited edition prints run from 900 euros to 7,000 euros ($1,010-$7,900). Truly deep-pocketed fans can splurge on a 25,000-euro Leica camera that’s been given the Kravitz touch, complete with snakeskin trim.
– Next ambition: directing a movie –
His acting side is in repose since his turn as a flamboyant supporting character, Cinna, in the “Hunger Games” sci-fi movie series, but he’s champing to get back into cinema — preferably next time as a director.
“I would do an indie film, do my own film,” he says, adding that he’s working on a script. “I don’t know if many people know I want to do that (directing). I think it’s something I’m going to do.”
In the meantime, he gets to admire the blooming of his daughter he had with Bonet, Zoe Kravitz, as an actress.
She was in the “X-Men” series, and plays a small part in the sci-fi blockbuster “Mad Max: Fury Road” currently in cinemas, as well as a meatier role in a lesser-known movie starring Ethan Hawke, “Good Kill”. She is also filming the latest instalment in the “Divergent” series.
“I’m just proud and happy because she’s doing what’s natural to her,” Kravitz says. “There’s nothing like seeing your child do well. That doesn’t mean being famous or any of that — it means doing what they do, whatever it is.”
It may be hard for many to think of Kravitz — whose beard is free of grey, his eyes almost always hidden behind sunglasses — as a father, let alone a 51-year-old.
For the musician-actor-photographer-designer, though, age is irrelevant.
“Numbers don’t really mean anything,” he tells AFP.
“Age is how you take care of yourself. It starts in the heart and the mind, and of course taking care of your body,” he says.
“I’m feeling good and feeling stronger than ever.”