The house that funk built: Inside Lenny Kravitz’s Paris home

As he turns 56, our cover star takes us on a tour of his Parisian abode - and offers some insight into the life of one of the world’s coolest musicians

You’ll find the Paris home of Lenny Kravitz – a four-storey hotel particulier – hidden behind palm leaves and bamboos at the end of an assuming boulevard in the city’s 16th arrondissement. It was built in the 20s as the US Embassy to France but now houses an eclectic mix of contemporary art, beautiful instruments and museum-grade artefacts. The house, in short, is a fine representation of its owner.

On being a collector…

Among the many precious items adorning every nook and cranny of Kravitz’s home are a pair of Muhammad Ali’s boxing boots, Bob Dylan’s harmonica, Prince’s velvet heels, tambourine and guitar and a pair of James Brown’s striders.

“When I first got them, I did try them on. Though James’s foot was smaller than mine. There’s just something about what people have walked in,” he says. “I also have a shirt that Yoko gave me of John Lennon’s on my birthday, straight out of his drawer. It’s beautiful to have these things but if I didn’t have them I’d be just as fine.”

Lenny Kravitz

On growing up around talent…

With an NBC producer father and successful actress mother, Kravitz remembers sitting on Miles Davis’s knee as a toddler and listening to some old man name Duke messing around on the piano.

“It’s interesting growing up around these artists and geniuses – people who changed culture – and having no idea who they were. To me, Duke Ellington was the guy with the white suit and the goatee who played piano – I was blessed to be able to experience these folks in that way when I was uneducated and innocent.”

On the creative process…

When beginning work on Raise Vibration, his politically-charged album released in 2018, Kravitz says the writing process felt laboured. “I tried some different things, but they weren’t what I was looking for, so I stopped. Then I started having dreams, I was being given what I was supposed to do.”

This inner, almost sub-conscious, rhythm has been with Kravitz since he was a young boy watching The Jackson 5 and frequently sees him getting up at 4am to play drum loops and melodies that have struck during the night. “I like things to become what they want to become. I have no ego with it. You have rhythm and soul or you don’t. You can go to school all you want but vision is something that you have or you don’t.”

lenny kravitz
lenny kravitz

On side hustles…

A man with as much talent as Kravitz doesn’t restrict himself to just one medium. Alongside the design firm he set up in 2003 (with a few nudges from Philippe Starck), Lenny Kravitz also recently staged his first photography exhibition and is the somewhat newly appointed creative director of Dom Pérignon. There have also been collaborations with brands including Rolex and Steinway.

“On the artistic side, if I feel it, something usually happens. Now, that doesn’t mean everybody’s going to like it, of course.” Is there anything this polymath can’t do? “I’m not a good basketball or tennis player. I admit, I’m not good at all at those things.” A small price to pay, we imagine.

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