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After 2-Year Hiatus, Kravitz Returns to Music Scene with <i>Baptism</i> - 2004-06-05

For the past decade, guitar rocker Lenny Kravitz has been called the successor to late classic rock legend Jimi Hendrix. After a two-year break from the music scene, Lenny is back with a new album, Baptism.

For his seventh and latest album, Baptism, Lenny Kravitz wrote, produced and arranged the songs and played all the instruments himself. He explains that he needed the two-year break from recording and touring to grieve for his late mother, get over his break-up with actress Nicole Kidman, and take care of his family.

"Being a dad comes first and that's the most important thing," he says. "It'd be a shame to be a great musician and whatever, but not to take care of your kid. That ain't happening."

Baptism features Lenny's signature hard rock guitar work, with introspective lyrics. Guest artists include rapper Jay-Z and jazz saxophonist David Sanborn.

Lenny admits that he was in the middle of recording a funk album, when he decided to abandon the project. Switching directions, he wrote and recorded Baptism within a month.

"It was obviously the music that needed to some out," he says. "It just poured out in a very natural, spiritual kind of way. The last couple of years were difficult on me. I went through some depression, so this is all about coming out of it and feeling reborn."

Lenny Kravitz' Baptism album is a mixture of funk and rock, with strings and an orchestra on a few tunes. One song was inspired by his former girlfriend Nicole Kidman, while others explore themes of spirituality, stardom, and struggles with loneliness.

In 2005, Lenny will be the subject of a semi-autobiographical film called Barbecues and Bar Mitzvahs, which tells of a musician searching for love and happiness while growing up in a multiracial family. Lenny's father is television producer Sy Kravitz, and his late mother, Roxie Roker, was a regular on the influential 1970's TV series, The Jeffersons. As in real life, Roxie played an African-American woman married to a Caucasian man.

Lenny has also just signed a deal with Warner Music to release material from his own label, Roxie Records, named after his mother. He's already signed two new artists and is on the lookout for more. Now on tour in Europe, he'll play extensive U.S. dates in July.