Friday, Jun. 26, 2009

Lenny Kravitz

Recording artist and producer Lenny Kravitz won four straight Grammy Awards for Best Male Vocal Performance from 1998-2001.

I saw the Jackson 5 at Madison Square Garden, which was the first concert I'd ever seen, and they were wearing these knicker pants with these boots that came up to the knees. So I would put these galoshes on and dance around the living room and pretend that I was Michael Jackson. We got together a few years ago and we decided to go into the studio together. I had written a song for him and actually produced the track before he showed up. I played all the instruments, got it ready. We recorded at Marvin Gaye's old studio, up on Sunset Boulevard. We did his vocals for about three days. He was a lot of fun. He stayed for hours. We'd sit on these little stools and eat together and talk. That's where I really got to know him.

His children were there. They were extremely well behaved. I grew up in an old-school West Indian family, where respect was paramount. And these kids were just like that, full of respect but not robotic. Really sweet. They drew pictures for me and signed them. They were making art all day while we were working. My daughter Zoe came in. We were all together. We played music, we drew, we talked, we ate, we laughed. [He was] extremely respectful toward the chef, the engineers, myself, the kids — just the same to everybody.

I was in Glasgow, coming off the stage before an encore, when I heard the news. I went back on, did the last two songs. Came off and they announced he had died. Coming off the stage like that, when you're amped up and on a high, and hearing that news and having to go downstairs and digest this — it was difficult. I came off stage and went right to my computer and played the track we had done. It was about his life and where he'd been. It's quite triumphant.