Lenny Kravitz is excited for his first hosting gig at the 2023 iHeartRadio Music Awards.
“I’m just ready to get out of there and I’m grateful to still be here,” says the 58-year-old rocker diversity. “After all these years that I’ve had, it’s really a gift to still be so alive and feel so inspired. And in this very special case, it’s nice to meet and witness the people that are now emerging in this generation. This is a special moment in my career.”
Fresh from his In Memoriam performance at the 95th Academy Awards, Kravitz’s schedule is as full as it gets. Aside from hosting the awards ceremony on March 27, Kravitz will also deliver a “roughly four-minute” medley of at least three of his career-defining tracks — a challenging feat for the artist, whose catalog spans over three decades of hits.
“We’re working on getting the timing and rhythm right, while making sure the message is represented,” he says. “I worked with the people [at iHeart] to make sure everything clicks into place and sounds exactly how we want it to.”
In its 10th year, the iHeart Radio Awards will also see performances from Pink, Coldplay, Keith Urban, Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo, Latto, Muni Long, Cody Johnson and Kelly Clarkson, who recently performed Kravitz’s “Are You Gonna Go My Way” have covered. on her daytime show.
“She probably never saw it, but I actually DMed her to tell her she killed it. I thought that was a great rendition,” he says of Clarkson’s performance.
When his music isn’t on his mind, Kravitz is taking requests from Hollywood to continue his cameo role as Sean opposite Josh Duhamel and Jennifer Lopez in Amazon’s romantic comedy Shotgun Wedding. He’s also landed roles on TV shows like Better Things and Star, but it’s his time as Cinna in the Hunger Games franchise that has garnered him some unanticipated attention of late.
“Why this?” he asks, apparently oblivious to the mania Netflix has recently unleashed in adding movies back to the hub, and only spurred on further by TikTok’s renewed obsession with YA series. “I noticed more and more people on the street calling me Cinna and I was like, ‘What’s going on? Why are people suddenly back at it?’”
As for future screen time, Kravitz says he’s in the process of reading through scripts “to find something that really fits… I don’t do many new films because I’m usually in the studio or on the road.”
In fact, the singer is preparing for a 2024 tour and is in the mixing phase of a new “upbeat” record, which he expects to be released sometime in the fall. And while he waits for the big night of the awards show, Kravitz is on the hunt for the perfect team of collaborators to appear on his new record, which he describes as “the kind I wasn’t allowed to do growing up — before.” [‘Let Love Rule’] came out.”
He continues: “I was making music under a different name back then and it didn’t happen. I found my way [‘Let Love Rule’]. It was really kind of an epiphany album because at the end I used my real name and I was like, ‘I think that’s what I should do’, but this new record celebrates before that. It’s the album I never had to make.”
As a first-time host, Kravitz looks forward to celebrating this moment of coming full circle in his career with the help of longtime industry friends and iHeartMedia executives John Sykes and Tom Poleman.
“The relationships we have with artists like Lenny have been building for years, and we’re excited to have the opportunity to bring so many talents into the same space,” said Skyes, President of Entertainment at iHeartMedia. “When we created the show 10 years ago, we decided not to make it a competition show, but to make it a celebration. Some of our nominees and award winners already know they have won, so we want to document their journeys in a special way.”
Taylor Swift will receive the Innovator Award, “something we very rarely give,” Sykes adds. “She’s one of those artists who really changed the game, not just in music but in culture. She’s also committed to helping her other songwriters and artists finally get a grip on their careers. And that’s pretty daring.”
And on the other side of the world, Coldplay will be collecting the Tour of the Year award remotely from their Music of Spheres stop in Brazil.
“We want it to be a party [the Dolby Theatre]…but if you’re giving out a best tour award, why not show the tour?” said Poleman, iHeartMedia’s chief programming officer and president of national programming.
Meanwhile, Pink will be honored with the Icon Award during the event, while LL Cool J will be celebrating 50 years of hip-hop with “a special on-air moment.” A star-studded roster of presenters – including Ice Spice and PinkPantheress – will take the stage, while performers include Cher, Damar Hamlin, Donald Faison and Zach Braff, HER, Joel McHale, Jordan Davis, Nicole Scherzinger, Nikki Glaser and Phoebe Bridgers and TLC will occur.
“There are a lot of cool new ways to find music, but radio is still the way to take a record home to #1,” concludes Sykes. “It’s our way of celebrating this success. It’s their awards show.”
The 2023 iHeartRadio Music Awards will air live on Fox on March 27 at 8pm ET from the Dolby Theater in Los Angeles.