US singer Lenny Kravitz performs on stage during a concert at the Stadthalle in Vienna, Austria, 17 December 2014. Kravitz sings also songs from his latest album 'Strut'. (EPA Photo/Herbert Pfarrhofer)

US Rocker Lenny Kravitz Wants to Go Jakarta’s Way

FEBRUARY 08, 2015

When I go through my CD collection, I sometimes cringe at how misguided my music taste was at certain times in my life. Yet, within this plethora of pop, rock, alternative, reggae and classic, there are some musicians which remain meaningful to me. Listening to their songs takes me back to my youth, my university years and my professional career, making up the soundtrack of my life.

One of the singers who I have loved since I was 11 years old is Lenny Kravitz.

The mid-tempo ballad “It Ain’t Over ’Til It’s Over,” released as a single from his second studio album “Mama Said,” immediately caught my attention.

Granted, so did the man delivering the tune, all dreadlocks and bedroom eyes.

After buying “Mama Said” as well as his debut album “Let Love Rule,” and listening non-stop to his music, a solid foundation for this lasting relationship was laid.

And as it turns out, it is unwavering and steadfast.

By the time “Are You Gonna Go My Way” (1993) was released, my bedroom was plastered with photos and postcards of Lenny Kravitz. One day, my parents sat me down, maybe worried about my groupie-esque behavior, and asked me nicely to take down the poster on the door of our guest toilet.

I moved the poster into my own bathroom, but didn’t love him any less. Every day on my way to school and back home again I listened to his soulful voice and was in awe of this multi-talented artist.

Lenny Kravitz, the rock star; Lenny Kravitz, the sex symbol; Lenny Kravitz, the fashion icon — over the years, many labels have been put on him, but to me, he was simply Lenny, my favorite singer of all time.

After recording the album “Circus” (1995), Kravitz toured, stopping by in Tokyo, where I was living at the time. Seeing him perform live on stage for the first time was one of the most memorable nights in my teenage years.

In May 1998, Kravitz released the album “5.” I was so excited, that early in the morning I waited in front of my favorite music store in Tokyo until the doors were opened, and I was let in, relentlessly hassling the staff so I could hold the CD in my hands.

He didn’t disappoint me — even when he decided to cut off his dreadlocks. Our relationship took a rocky path in the years after. But I couldn’t bring myself to let go of him. In a way, being a true fan is like being married — you have to take the good with the bad.

So I stuck with him through the mess that was “Lenny” (2001) and “Baptism” (2004)  and became increasingly worried that he’d put an end to his music career.

When I had the chance to attend one of his concerts again, this time in Berlin, I wondered if this would be the last time I’d ever see him on stage. As I entered the venue and looked around, I realized that most of the other fans had grown up with him, just like I had; we were all around the same age, anticipating a dynamic live show by the man who had come into our lives so many years ago by promoting love, peace and understanding.

Luckily, it seems, Kravitz is as addicted to making music as I am to his edgy guitar riffs and emotional piano ballads. “It Is Time for a Love Revolution” (2008) made me hopeful of a revival of his 1990s sound, and when “Black and White America” (2011) entered the market, I was so in love with this album that I decided to buy the special edition containing a DVD with footage of his live shows.

“Strut” was released in September last year; Rolling Stone magazine listed it among the best 50 albums of 2014.

When it was announced he was going to perform in Jakarta in March, at first I couldn’t believe it. It seemed too good to be true. After all, he had never been here before, so why would he bother now?

Anxious that it was merely a hoax, I waited for official confirmation from his management — and when that came in, I transformed into my teenage self, happily giggling and posting photos of him on all my social media networks.

I shouldn’t be surprised, probably, because that’s the way we roll: a concert date once every 10 years.

I will be there — not in the front row, because let’s face it, that is only fun when you are in your twenties — but certainly reminiscing about the wonderful times that we shared, and realizing that the following saying does hold some truth: You’ll never forget your first love. Music-wise, Lenny Kravitz was mine. I am always gonna go his way.

Lenny Kravitz