Songs came to Lenny complete while he was asleep, he reveals, and admits he didn’t mean to be one-man band
Lenny Kravitz says most of the tracks on his new album Black and White America came to him as completed compositions when he was asleep.
And the 70s-influenced musician admits he never set out to record as a one-man band – but his financial position left him no choice.
Kravitz tells Gibson: “It feels almost euphoric: the songs come fully formed. I actually hear a record playing and I’m digging it.
“Then I wake up and realise, ‘Wait, that’s not a record, that’s a song – it’s something new,’ It becomes a matter of quickly finding a tape recorder.”
He started work on his ninth album two years ago in the Bahamas. He says: “The combination of being there and having my new studio, with a new sound and all my gear in place, created a flow. It put me in a really creative mood.”
Kravitz says he’ll start with working out the song’s structure on guitar or piano, and wants to begin the recording process as soon as possible. He begins with the drum track, then adds bass, then guitars, by which time he’s worked out what do to with the rest of the arrangement.
But his way of doing almost everything himself came about by accident. “I did that originally because I had no money to pay studio musicians, when I was making Let Love Rule in 1988,” he says.
“Also, when my engineer and I auditioned musicians he kept saying, ‘The character isn’t there. When you’re doing it yourself there’s more character.’
“I wanted a band – but it just didn’t happen.”
It’s been said Kravitz would have been more at home in the 1970s, and he admits he once felt the same way: “I thought, ‘I was born in the wrong time, but what can I do?’
“A lot of the songs I wrote in the 90s would have been big hits in the 70s. But I’m here and I am what I am. On the new album you hear influences that range from the 60s to the present. It’s a collage.”