With a starring role as Cinna in the dystopian-future film series “The Hunger Games” and the 2014 record “Strut” issued on his own Roxie Records, Lenny Kravitz has been experiencing a remarkable resurgence in popularity.
He believes he owes the unexpected second wind to his zenlike outlook on life.
“I’m feeling inspired, motivated, hungry, and I exercise a lot of discipline to stay focused, and to keep my mind, body and spirit in the shape that I would like them to be in,” says the 51-year-old. “So you’ve got to put in the work.”
Conversely, the multiple-Grammy winner – who plays Berkeley this weekend – admits his career stalled when he signed to metal label Roadrunner for the ill-fated 2011 effort, “Black and White America.”
“It was the biggest mistake of my life,” he says. “They promised all kinds of things, but it was very interesting to have these guys who couldn’t tell you what an A chord is try to tell you what to do. So there’s definitely a time where you need a minute, you know? You’ve been doing it, year in, year out. And you need some time to live, to take things in.”
Kravitz always has maintained creative control in his contracts, ever since his 1989 debut for Virgin, “Let Love Rule.” He also conveniently owns an elaborate home studio, GTS, furnished with an arsenal of vintage instruments and mixing desks he’s obsessively amassed over the years. Or, as he puts it, “I have a lot of crayons in my box. So I have a very inspiring place to work, I make the music that I want to make, I never know what I’m going to make, and I couldn’t tell you if there’s a hit on it.”
Kravitz employs daily techniques to stay on track. Relaxation is one, as is not sweating the small details and not overthinking things, like he used to. He doesn’t want his life to sound like a 12-step program. “But I also talk to God directly — that’s my thing,” he says. “That’s what it’s about — taking all the religion out of it and having a relationship with God. And also, just maturing has helped me to calm down, because I’ve been a little boy for a long time.”
Accordingly, the universe rewarded Kravitz’s faith with a bustling acting career, starting with a small part in Lee Daniels’ “Precious.” Then the director rehired him for “The Butler,” and invited him to appear on his hit TV show “Empire” this season.
“I’ll be playing myself, actually,” he says. “But it’s been very strange, because I didn’t ask for any of this. At all!”
IF YOU GO
Where: Greek Theatre, 2001 Gayley Road, Berkeley
When: 7 p.m. Sept. 13
Tickets: $55 to $95
Contact: (800) 745-3000, www.ticketmaster.com