Lenny Kravitz’s Fave Vocalists

Lenny Kravitz (Photo by Mark Seliger)

Music courses through Lenny Kravitz’s veins. It’s evident when you listen to his music and hear the influences he channels. Or how he considers the in-concert experience as being a sacred communion between artist and fan. So when you ask the New York City native who his favorite vocalists are, he’ll admit, “That’s a tough one. I could easily name 105, but you have to mention Al Green, Curtis Mayfield, Marvin Gaye—I could just keep going and going.” That said, he was able to nail down a quartet that really resonate with him.

Michael Jackson

(August 29, 1958 to June 25, 2009)

“Michael Jackson would be one [of my favorite vocalists] and more as a child—Michael Jackson from the Jackson 5. His delivery, interpretation, pitch, tone and soul—he was as good as the best adult vocalists of that time or any time. It’s uncanny. If you go back and listen to those Jackson 5 songs, they’re so sophisticated and deep. He was an alien. I don’t know where he came from.”

Aretha Franklin

(March 25, 1942 to August 16, 2018)

“She was the Queen of Soul and the voice of that generation and so many other. She had complete rawness and had the voice of God—all of that.”

James Brown

(May 3, 1933 to December 25, 2006)

“Pure soul, grit, funk and gospel. Also, he could croon. He had it all. He had complete control of his voice.”

Gladys Knight

(Born May 28, 1944)

“Those Gladys Knight and the Pips records were very important to me. I don’t want to say she was underrated because it’s not like she’s not thought of, because she completely is. But I think she’s underrated in terms of how people might rate her in the history of vocalists. She has the most incredible, sultry, velvety and soulful voice and still does. She’s still beautiful and still performs to this day. Gladys Knight inspired me a lot and there are certain things that you wouldn’t think of. But if I played you certain tunes of mine and said that this came from Gladys Knight, you would then understand that. She’s more of an influence to me than people would know.”

Read LIW‘s full interview with Lenny Kravitz.

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