Lenny Kravitz | Enter The Vortex, A Different Kind Of Blue

Via Issue 192, Gettin' Around

Written by

Hannah Bhuiya

Photographed by

Jonny Marlow

Styled by

Rodney Burns

No items found.
BALMAIN jacket, pants, and sunglasses.

Since blasting onto the scene in 1989 with his fully-formed statement of harmonic intent, Let Love Rule, the dynamo that is Lenny Kravitz has shared his musical, emotional, and style evolution with generations X, Y, and Z, and now enjoys a culturally-transcendent position as a globally adored icon.

The living embodiment of retro-flavored Rock ‘n’ Roll, effortlessly oozing raw sensuality, the ageless Lenny is always going to be the coolest guy in the room—no matter what room—as his sex and soul appeal is abundant, springing wild and eternal. Kravitz is the popularly anointed scion of the 20th Century ‘Rock God’ lineage, grabbing the mic stand, writhing and strutting, gyrating and shaking that elegant head with unmistakable crown of kinetic dreads. With ‘My Heart Belongs to Jesus Christ’ inscribed in curlicued gothic script across his trapezoids, he gavottes like Jagger, swaggers like Morrison, goes skintight like Bowie, burns up the guitar strings like Hendrix, calls us to action like Marley, gets on up like James Brown—but at the same time, he’s always been 100% himself. Channeling from the same source as the stage-shamans before him, straight out of the gate he found his own groove, with a distinctive Rock-God arsenal of screams, ooohaas and yeah yeah yeah yeahhhhhs alloyed with the ability to play ALL the instruments on any album.

Style-wise, everyone knows that Lenny Kravitz always pulls it off. His signature figure-hugging layered looks consistently remix his favorite textures of feathers, furs, lace, and leather, accessorized with scarves, chains, cuffs, and chunky rings. This means, of course, that each time he steps outside the house, his OOTD has viral potential. Witness ‘The Big Scarf’ moment from 2012 which engendered a swathe of memes, even with social media in a nascent stage. Demonstrating his wry sense of humor, Kravitz joined TikTok in 2023 with a reel starring ‘The Big Scarf 2.0.’ He’s just that kind of guy—a truly uncontroversial hero, equal parts Zen and visionary vigor. From his first persona, ‘Romeo Blue,’ right up to the brand new Blue Electric Light album dropping on May 24th, Kravitz’s exacting professional passions coexist with a chill, mellow vibe. Daughter Zoe Kravitz describes having Lenny as Dad as ‘awesome,’ her mother, ex-wife Lisa Bonet, and other prominent companions along the way, only speak highly of their time in his company.

BALMAIN jacket and pants and talent’s own sunglasses.

And what a ride it was to get here. In “Always on the Run,” (1991) Kravitz yowls raspily: My mama said / Go get all that you’re after / And my mama said / That love’s all that matters. He has truly lived by these words. ‘Mama’ was acclaimed actress Roxie Roker, of African-American and Afro-Caribbean heritage. ‘Papa’ was Seymour ‘Sy’ Kravitz, a Jewish-Ukrainan businessman from Brooklyn. In his 2020 memoir, Let Love Rule, Kravitz goes into depth about how the fusion and friction between these “twin worlds, twin identities” forged the man and the artist he is today: “My life is all about opposites. Black and white. Jewish and Christian. The Jackson 5 and Led Zeppelin. I accepted my Gemini soul. I owned it. I adored it.”

BALMAIN jacket and pants and talent’s own sunglasses.

Born in 1964, from the age of four the young savant was beating pots and pans in the kitchen, humming melodies from Tchaikovsky learned from his toy record player, irresistibly drawn to pound every drum and twang each guitar string in the music store. Living adjacent to the Met Museum, the artistic enclaves of Manhattan became his first playground. His mom painted peace signs on his cheeks and took him to anti-war marches in Central Park. The aspiring artist was changed forever when his dad took him to see the Jackson 5 perform live at Madison Square Garden in October 1970. After that, practicing his moves in his own bedroom, he “became the sixth Jackson.”

SAINT LAURENT BY ANTHONY VACCARELLO coat and top, BALMAIN pants, RICK OWENS sunglasses, and stylist’s own belt.

Moving to LA in 1975 after his mother was booked to star in the long-running, ground-breaking CBS sitcom The Jeffersons gave him new coordinates to discover his destiny; from the family home in Baldwin Vista he would look out onto the entire city and dream big. Stimulus swirled around him: “One day, I’d be out smoking dope and digging Black Sabbath with the Dogtown crew, and the next, I’d be singing Fauré’s ‘Requiem’ with the California Boys’ Choir. Then on Saturdays, I’d be sitting in church praising the Lord.” Kravitz attended Beverly Hills High alongside Slash and Nicolas Cage, where he joined his first band, leaving home at 15, working part-time jobs and haunting Guitar Center until he was ready to show the world what he could do. Always clear about his mission, that his “job was to follow the music,” he signed to Virgin Records in January 1989, only aged 24. Four Grammys and 50 million plus records sold later, he shows no signs of ever finding a reason to stop.

BALMAIN jacket and pants, talent’s own sunglasses.

At this point in time, Lenny Kravitz has reached the sociological impact stage where he isn’t just a musician, he’s an adjective. He’s a whole mood. Dark Bohemian luxury with rain-glazed cobblestones and lit-candle chandeliers and a touch of bondage couture? That’s very Lenny Kravitz. He’s acted in The Hunger Games, Lee Daniels’ Precious, and The Butler. And that’s not to forget the enigmatic starring role he’s played in his catalog of always epic MTV-up-to-current era music videos that smashed his inimitable style imprint into every youthful synapse. Supermodels (Milla Jovovich, Nadja Auermann, Rianne Ten Haken) adorn his cinematic short films, moodily shot by the world’s best directors and photographers including Michel Gondry (“Believe”), Samuel Bayer (“Black Velveteen”), Joel Schumacher (“Heaven Help”), Jean-Baptiste Mondino (“Dancin’ Til Dawn”), and Mark Romanek (“Are You Gonna Go My Way”). Featured in Architectural Digest’s top 100 tastemakers for 2023, his multi-million dollar budgeted interior design commissions deliver slick, innovative ultra-luxe spaces across the globe, from the mega-mansion Stanley House in the Hollywood Hills to the extreme WOW suite at W Hotel Las Vegas, or the buzzy Florida Room at the Delano in Miami.

BALMAIN jacket and pants, talent’s own sunglasses, and JAEGER-LECOULTRE The Reverso Tribute Chronograph watch.

And in the high fashion world, he’s a poetic muse with a magic Midas touch that’s been tapped by the world’s most exclusive luxury marques. Currently Saint Laurent campaign star and the face of the YSL ‘Y’ fragrance, Kravitz is known in the industry as a uniquely hands-on creative collaborator. He took his own textile swatches to General Motors when he concocted a sleek electric-blue Cadillac CELESTIQ; he selected a rare rose gold Reverso Tribute Tourbillon to wear as Global Ambassador for Jaeger-LeCoultre. His limited-edition mirrored aviators for Ray-Ban debuted to a thousand flashbulbs during the inauguration of his Hollywood Walk of Fame Star this Spring.


The freshly placed 2,774th Star on the Walk of Fame is forever embedded in the pavement at 1750 North Vine Street, right outside of the historic Capitol Records Tower. Only Roy Orbison and the Beatles are closer to the storied door through which so many music icons have passed. On the morning of the March 12th inauguration, Lenny looked around at the friends, family, and fans who had come out to share the moment with him. With his heart in his throat, he spoke with pride and sincerity: “There’s nothing that keeps me grounded more than seeing the people who have taken the journey with me all these decades... For everyone here that has nurtured my dream. This isn’t my star, this is our star. Thank you all for this. And Let Love Rule.” So now, let’s hear from Mr. Kravitz himself.


So we’re here to discuss your new album Blue Electric Light and how it all came together. Are you up for that?


Fantastic. Recently, you related an anecdote that really struck me, really caught my attention. You talk about when you discovered—using your words—The Vortex. You were with a friend, you were very young, you smoked your first joint and blissed out listening to Led Zeppelin IV. And you describe a portal into a higher level of inner and universal consciousness opening up for you in that moment that has led to everything else. How has the album Blue Electric Light emerged from this Vortex that you discovered on that day?

I have come to learn that I am an antenna. I am not ‘writing’ this music—it’s more of the sense that I’m ‘receiving’ the music. I’m receiving what it is that I’m supposed to get. And that is what it is. And I love that process because I want to keep myself, my mind, my ego, my whatever, I want to keep those as far away from the process as possible. I want this divine download. And you know, that’s how it started for me when I did my first album, Let Love Rule. Before that, I was searching deeply for my sound, experimenting with the vocabulary that I had within me—and, then all of a sudden I just got this download, ‘BAM.’ I didn’t create it. It was given to me. It was a gift and I heard it. And I translated that to the tape through my instruments that I play with my hands.

And I had my new sound, right at the beginning of my sound. And it has continued to be that way. I don’t sit down to write. I don’t say, ‘Okay well, today’s Monday. It’s 10 o’clock. Let me go in there and sit down at the piano and write and then I’m going to take lunch and then I’m going to go back.’ No. I wait to hear something. Because I don’t know, I prefer it that way, it’s just more magical to me. And what’s wonderful is, a lot of times when I’m writing, I’m like, ‘That’s what I’m doing, like this kind of song? Ok.’ You know, it’s always a surprise to me because it’s not coming from me, it’s coming through me. I like this. And so this Vortex, this thing. You know, a lot of it comes through dreams. I wake up in the middle of the night and here it is. I hear it like a record. Or I’ll be doing anything, just walking through the garden or in the ocean or driving my Jeep or whatever I do, you know, and I’ll just hear something. And then I run to the studio and I make it happen.

When you’re depending on that Vortex, you have to exercise patience because it comes when it comes, not when you necessarily want it to come. There’s a level of exercising acceptance, whatever it may be. So when I go in the studio, people tend to ask, ‘So what was your inspiration?’ ‘What were you wanting to do with this record? What was the direction that you wanted to go in?’ Well, I have no idea. It starts coming and I have to accept it. ‘Oh, this is the direction.’ I wasn’t necessarily thinking I’d be going in this direction, but here it is. And so that just keeps the whole thing very...and I’m making a long story long.

SAINT LAURENT BY ANTHONY VACCARELLO coat and top, BALMAIN pants, RICK OWENS sunglasses, and stylist’s own belt.

No, that is what we’re here for. Please go on, I find this fascinating. 

That’s why I have to just go where it goes, and therefore it’s always exciting, and it’s always an adventure.

2024 looks like it’s been a hell of year for you so far. Rustin earned you a Golden Globe nomination for best song; I’ve seen you onstage at the Grammys paying tribute to Clive Avant, at the People’s Choice Awards accepting the Music Icon award and playing a killer ‘Icon Set,’ and you’re also currently nominated for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Receiving your Hollywood Walk of Fame Star at Hollywood and Vine, right outside the Capitol Records Tower. As well as a ‘Global Impact Award’ from the Black Music Collective, and a ‘Fashion Icon’ award from the CFDA not so long ago in 2022. It seems like the world really is coming around to your perspective... So I guess the question is, just: ‘How are you feeling in 2024?’

I feel wonderful. I feel I’m the best version of myself that I’ve been yet. I feel comfortable in my skin. I am, and I’ve always been a grateful person, but in this present, I am living in extreme gratitude. Every day is such a gift. Life is precious. And I stuck to my beliefs. I stuck to doing things the way I felt I should do them. And here we are. I’m very fortunate to be here, to be alive, whilst receiving these flowers.

BALMAIN jacket, pants, and sunglasses.

And 2024 is most certainly a year of receiving flowers for you. But you’re giving as well as receiving. The track “TK421” dropped in October last year as a preview teaser of what’s to come from Blue Electric Light. You’ve made a reel explaining that “TK421” comes from George Lucas’ Star Wars, via Don Cheadle’s Black cowboy character in Boogie Nights by Paul Thomas Anderson. He’s trying to smooth-talk a customer into pimping up a stereo system, and it becomes a code word for...making something better, bigger, louder. So with that answered, I really wanted to ask you about the incredible and very intimate video for “TK421” filmed in your home in Paris, the Hôtel Roxie. Would you say that’s an accurate depiction of a day in the life of
Lenny Kravitz?

Here’s the thing, it’s funny—I can’t take any credit for this video. I had nothing to do with it except ‘be.’ How it happened was, I had seen this video that I loved by Rosalía, who I love, called “Chicken Teriyaki.” And I said: ‘I want to work with this director!’ Come to find out it’s a young Ukrainian woman director, Tanu Muino. And I was very attracted to that—you know, my father’s Ukrainian. So I called her up and I said, ‘I’d love to work with you.’ She was excited to do so. I gave her the song to listen to, and then I’m like, ‘So what are we going to do?’ Her response was: ‘We’ve got to do something that only you can do, that’s gotta be your vibe.’ I was like, ‘Well, of course,’ but also like, ‘Okay, what’s that?’ She said, ‘We’re going to come to your house and you’re going to wake up, and you’re going to start your day, and you’re going to get ready and you’re going to get dressed, blah blah blah. And then you’re going to walk out of the house.’ At first I thought, ‘That sounds really boring—I don’t understand what that could be.’ Then she came over, and only then did I understand what it could be.

So we just had fun and did that. And you have to know that it wasn’t taking itself seriously, it was a lot of fun and tongue-in-cheek, even goofy and zany. I’m singing into a toothbrush, I mean, just like somebody would do if they were alone, you know? Like nobody’s watching and you’re just kind of having fun and dancing around your house. And so that’s what I do. I wake up and I open the curtains, and I get ready, and take a shower and brush my teeth and dance around, look in my closet for clothes and put ‘em on, and then dance down the stairs and walk out the door. Tanu edited it beautifully. And there it was—and the next thing I know, we’re breaking the internet with this funny video.

SAINT LAURENT BY ANTHONY VACCARELLO coat, MENAGERIÉ underwear, talent’s own boots, and BALMAIN sunglasses.

Over the course of your career, you’ve had the ability to meet and work with many of your heroes. Who and what would you say is being refigured and translated from these heroes into this particular album?

Yes. God, I mean, there are so many influences and teachers that I’ve had. Whether it be Stevie Wonder or Led Zeppelin or Prince or, you know—I could go on and on. This record is a beautiful combination of Funk and Rock and Disco and Electro and Pop, and R&B and Soul and, you know, glam... There are so many elements of my musical vocabulary in this record.

And so let’s talk about the one word which I think is the key to your work—and that word, of course, is ‘LOVE.’


Track 9 is entitled “Love is my Religion,” where you sing ‘Love is my Religion, Love is my Guide...’ giving us yet another Lenny Kravitz love anthem. So can you give me a few words about ‘love’ in your music?

My sole purpose in music and in Art is to amplify love. That’s it. That’s what I’m here to do. So, from my first statement, “Let Love Rule,” to now, to “Love is My Religion”—they are wonderful bookends. That is what I love to do. That’s the message to continually project. There’s not enough. It’s endless. I could write about love for a thousand years. Love is endless. And, so yeah, that’s one of the powerful tracks on the album. This chant, this mantra of just Love Is My Religion” with this big bombastic stadium drum beat. I can’t wait to play that one live.

So there will be a big world tour coming from this later year, I guess?

Yes. Oh, yes.

You had a great recent collab with Peggy Gou for “I Believe in Love Again,”—more ‘love,’ of course, a nice between-album surprise that brings you together with a cross-generational audience. I also noticed on your Instagram that when you post your classic songs, it also says how many years ago they came out. Is that because you find that a younger audience just doesn’t have any idea that the songs came out 30 or 20 years ago—I mean, they’re 19 years old, so that’s like out of their realm of concept?

I mean, it’s funny. Yeah, a lot of the younger people, they just don’t understand the amount of years. And they’re confused by the way I look, because I look... kind of the same [laughs.] And I don’t want to sound like I’m saying, ‘I look great’—

You look great.

But yeah, that’s confusing to them.

SAINT LAURENT BY ANTHONY VACCARELLO coat, MENAGERIÉ underwear, talent’s own boots, and BALMAIN sunglasses.

I guess what I mean to say with that is that your music is so classic; it could come from any era, any time. It just happens to have been coming out of you from the 90s onwards.

Well, that was something that I was always aiming to do, consciously. I wanted to make classic-sounding music that would not date. It would just sound classic. And that’s why I never followed the trends or changed my records when the record company would say ‘This is what’s popular now,’ or ‘You should go this direction. You should go in that direction.’ I just stayed in my lane; used the equipment that I wanted, and the instruments, with my own production techniques to make a sound that just sounded like ‘music.’ And it’s because I was very aware of other people’s music that in 10 years, 20 years sounded dated. And I didn’t want that.

With that said, in a recent interview, you literally had the words, ‘No Regrets’ printed over your image. There’s the saying, ‘once bitten twice shy’—basically, how did you learn from any mistakes you’ve made musically, or any other way, over the years?

Oh my God, I’m continually learning from my mistakes and that’s what mistakes are for. But not too many. You know, we all make mistakes, and we all perhaps go in directions that we later realize, ‘Ah, maybe that’s not where I should have gone,’ but it’s all part of the journey. But I have no regrets, because without those mistakes, I wouldn’t be who I am today and I wouldn’t have had the experiences that would then mold me. And so, I’m cool with that. I love that. And the point is to try to make less of them as we move forward.

SAINT LAURENT BY ANTHONY VACCARELLO coat, MENAGERIÉ underwear, talent’s own boots, and BALMAIN sunglasses.

Well, one thing that you have made zero mistakes in, in my opinion, are your design choices. Not just with your firm, Kravitz Design, which you founded in 2003, but just in general—every single aesthetic you’ve explored, clothing you’ve ever worn, or interior shown, made a video about, everything has always been flawless. I just wanted to briefly get into your feeling for design and imagery, and where it comes from. 

I love, I love, I love to create. I love to beautify. I love to create an environment. I love to create a mood. Ever since I was a child, I think I was very aware of my surroundings and what they were made up of, why a certain surrounding felt a certain way. Going around to my mom’s friends’ apartments, observing the way they were decorated, the way they dressed, and just the whole aesthetic; how furniture and lighting and art altered a space. I used to do that in my room as a kid. I was always messing with my room and trying to make it feel a certain way. And always thinking about how music works hand in hand with that. I just love creating spaces. It’s just another expressive medium, you know.

As we all are. Now bringing it back to the album, Blue Electric Light, for our last moments. What exactly is the blue electric light? Does it refer to anything in particular? I remember once or twice seeing the Eiffel Tour in Paris electrified blue... Is there a place or a time that those three words reference?

No, for me, that’s just... it’s a feeling. It’s a feeling of energy. It’s a spiritual feeling, a feeling of love, of God, of humanity, of beauty. And so that was just my way of saying that. That’s how I felt about it. And in the chorus, when I say ‘Under Blue Electric Light,’ doing all of this under that light, that illuminates us, that feeds us energy.

The blue light chakra, I think, is the throat chakra, which would be very relevant to your business and your method of expression, in that your voice, your sound being literally the way you communicate with the world. You’re reaching out through the vibrations of your voice, the vibrations of your music...

Well that’s interesting. I didn’t even think about that.

And it’s beautiful. 

SAINT LAURENT BY ANTHONY VACCARELLO coat, MENAGERIÉ underwear, talent’s own boots, and BALMAIN sunglasses.

Photographed by Jonny Marlow at Early Morning Riot

Styled by Rodney Burns

Written by Hannah Bhuyia

Grooming: Shelley LeGrand at Aim Artist

Flaunt Film: Jason Bergh

DP: Dan Dealy

1st Assistant: Ram Gibson

2nd Assistant: Francesco Secci

3rd Assistant: Matjia Milicevic

Color: Houmam Abdallah

Sound Mix: Keith White 

Edit & Sound Design: Justin Gaar

Retouching: Nick Watson

Styling Assistant: Bridget Pilla

Production Assistants: Maria Kyriakos and Jabari

No items found.
No items found.
Flaunt Magazine, Issue 192, Gettin' Around, Lenny Kravitz, Blue Electric Light, Balmain, Saint Laurent by Anthony Vacarrello, Rick Owens, Hannah Bhuiya, Rodney Burns