Lenny Kravitz opens up about his Bahamian getaway: 'Things are different' there (Exclusive)
Lenny Kravitz is proud of his Bahamian heritage.
The Grammy-winning rocker, whose late mother was of Bahamian descent, recently took part in an illuminating tribute to the Islands of the Bahamas at Public Arts, where a campaign set to his 1998 hit, "Fly Away," was unveiled. Kravitz actually wrote the song in the Bahamas, heightening to the collaboration's meaningfulness.
Following a Q&A event, AOL's Gibson Johns sat down with Lenny Kravtiz to hear more about his love of the Bahamas and his home in Eleuthera, where he spends most of his downtime when he's not touring.
Check out the conversation below:
You grew up in New York City, but you clearly have so much pride and honor in your Bahamian heritage. I know that you grew up vacationing in the Bahamas every summer, but have you always had that pride?
Always, since I went down there as a child. I grew up in New York City, but at five years old I was going down there and I didn’t know anything like that existed, let alone that it was my heritage. It’s the most special place to me. For instance, when I’m off and not touring, I go there. I don’t go somewhere else. I go home. It’s not only home, but it’s also a vacation. It’s a place where I can decompress and start to feel myself again [after working]. I’ve always had that pride and respect for the Bahamas. My summers were there and my winters were there. I’m living in New York City in this concrete jungle, which is wonderful, but then all of a sudden I’m out in the fields picking mangos and climbing almond trees and going to the beach and having the freedom to go run out in nature. It was a whole other world.
You've talked a lot about how hospitable the Bahamian people are. Did you inherit that trait?
I have that same thing. In a family that hospitality and having the house be open was always happening, there was always food and room for somebody who didn’t have. Always. The door was always open at my grandmother’s house feeding everybody and the kids on the block. It’s a very Bahamian trait, as it is in many places, so I am the host. I host a lot of people from all different walks of life, and I love it. I love to show people the beauty of the Bahamas.
What’s a typical day for you down there at your hideaway in Eleuthera?
I wake up and a lot of times I jump on my bike first thing and I go for a hour-long bike ride: I go take a ride and clear my mind to begin the day. It’s almost like mediation. Then I come back, pick some fruit, go to my garden and see what’s happening, get some food going. Go sit on the beach, go to the studio and make some music. My studio is on the beach, so I go back and forth: I jump in the water, then I go back in the studio and make music. We meet with friends, too. Everyone in our town knows everybody. You go into town, sit on someone’s porch, have a drink and talk. You enjoy different places and having sunset in different places. It’s really about experiencing the place and the people and going around, but it’s very chill. I wear the same clothes every day, no shoes.
What’s a memory that sticks out to you from spending so much time with your family in the Bahamas?
The most fun memories come from my cousin in Nassau whose house was the center of the family getting together, and just being in the kitchen and living room, it was all open with my cousins and aunts and uncles and cooking and playing music and dancing and having a really good time. Bahamians know how to have a good time. It’s simple fun.
Your song "Fly Away" is the central theme song of this new campaign for the Islands of the Bahamas, which is where you wrote the song. Considering that it was originally released in 1998, this really speaks to the song's timeless appeal.
The song was written there and now it’s ended up being an important song for the country, which is great. I don’t think they knew the song was written and recorded there. I’m very fortunate to have classic repertoire in my catalog. All I can say it all comes from the heart. It’s all real, and it’s all felt. People can identify with it, because it’s a song about escaping and going to this other world -- this other place where things are different.
This interview has been edited and condensed.