Lenny Kravitz: I Would Be History If I'd Signed A Record Deal At 17

  • 11 September 2018

Lenny Kravitz doesn't think he would still be making music now if he signed a huge record deal when he was 17.

The 'American Woman' hitmaker turned down the chance to join a major label when he was a teenager because he would have had to compromise his style.

The 54-year-old musician - who released his 11th studio album 'Raise Vibration' last week - says everyone at the time felt that only white people could make ''rock 'n' roll'', and this annoyed him as they hadn't done their research.

In an interview with The Times newspaper, the 'Fly Away' singer recalled: ''People, even black people, thought rock 'n' roll was white music.

''I'd have to say, 'Know your history, dude.

''Go back to Little Richard and Chuck Berry.'''

Lenny didn't want to be boxed into a genre, and he believes he would have been ''history'' if he'd have gone ahead with the deal and produced the kind of music that people of colour were stereotyped to make.

He continued: ''Everyone was into categories, and people were only willing to sign me if I worked with such and such a producer and made soul and R&B that would get played on black radio

''This was the mid-80s.

''I was 17, living in a car in New York, taking showers at friends' houses when their parents were at work and being offered big record deals if I would only change my music.

''One executive brought out a contract with a pen and got so mad when I turned him down that he wanted to kick my ass.

''They were promising the world.

''Why not take the money and the fame? Because, if I had, I wouldn't be sitting with you today. I would have been history.''

Meanwhile, Lenny recently revealed he and the late Aretha Franklin had been making plans to record music together before she passed away.

He said: ''Although we played live [together] ,I really wanted to go in the studio with her and I thought it would happen.

''We talked about it but unfortunately it's not possible now.

''We talked about it and we were both into it but you never think about people dying.

''None of us know when we're going. But that is something I would have really been into.''

Asked what music he would have made with The Queen of Soul - who died last month - he said: ''Something very old school soul, that gospel feel. Those sessions she did in Alabama, that amazing rhythm section, those Atlantic years were my favourite records of hers, something like that.''