Talks Long-Simmering Funk Album, Plus Acting Role in 'Hunger Games'
L enny Kravitz has just hit the road in North America to promote 2011's "Black and White America." But its successor is already well in motion -- and, according to Kravitz, "pretty done."
The set is titled "Negrophilia," and Kravitz tells Billboard.com that the music is "very funky, very, very raw. 'Black and White America' was very produced. Although it's all natural and organic, it's a very produced record. That's the mode I was in at that time. But ('Negrophilia') is a very raw, jagged-edged album."
Kravitz was, in fact, already working on "Negrophilia" when the songs for "Black and White America" -- which debuted at No. 18 on the Billboard 200 after its Aug. 30 release -- started coming along. It's not the first time in his career that Kravitz has put the brakes on one album to put another in motion. "I'm strange like that," he acknowledges. "At the end of the day, I'm one that goes with the inspiration. So if I'm working on an album and all of a sudden I go in another direction because that's where inspiration takes you, I'll just follow that. I just figure everything will have it's time. You've got to treat it like a bottle of wine; it might have been made right now, but it's not ready for a few years. There will be a time for it where it'll be exactly where it needs to be. I'm just comfortable working that way."
Kravitz says he's "looking forward to" finishing "Negrophilia" but also notes that he's "still working" "Black and White America," with tour plans that stretch through 2012 -- North America until late February, Australia in March, Japan in April and then Europe during the summer. Kravitz is also headed back to the big screen this year, following his 2009 turn in "Precious" as part of the cast for the film adaptation of Suzanne Collins' "The Hunger Games" that's slated for a late March release.
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"I really enjoyed that," says Kravitz, who was not initially familiar with Collins' books until director Gary Ross tapped him for the role of the competitors' stylist Cinna -- who appears in all three books in the trilogy. "I was an actor as a kid; anyone who would have known me then would've probably thought that's what I was going to be doing... so I'm pretty happy that acting has come back to me. It's a good time for it to be coming back to me, and I'm hoping to do a lot more of it."
"I just love using different mediums to express myself," adds Kravitz, 47, who was named an Officer of France's prestigious Ordre des Arts et des Letters during December and is planning an exhibit of his photography for this year as well. "It's nice to have different things to do, creatively. Gordon Parks was a great hero of mine as a kid, and people like that who do a lot of different things. I've always loved these 'renaissance artists,' as they call them, and I hope I can be seen as one of them."