By Sabrina Ford
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Lenny Kravitz is touring the United States for the first time in five years and playing to packed houses, and while the singer says it is good to be in his home country, it's even better that his fans haven't forgotten him.
"I haven't been for quite some time and it's been a really great homecoming," Kravitz told Reuters in a recent interview. "I didn't take it for granted that people would come," he added.
He said that after spending most of his time in recent years between homes in the Caribbean and Paris, he hadn't know exactly what to expect when he committed to the U.S. tour which kicked off in Boston on January 27.
"I've spent a lot of time away. I didn't know if people would even show up. You know, out of sight, out of mind."
But the 47-year-old singer hasn't been forgotten, not by a long shot. The release of his ninth studio album, "Black and White America" last year, almost 21 years after his debut album "Let Love Rule," has kept his music in the ears of fans.
His recent show at New York's Radio City Music Hall was sold out, and already for this current U.S. tour, he has made stops in Detroit and Chicago and performed at an NFL event in Indianapolis during Super Bowl weekend. He'll wrap in Miami Beach on February 25 before heading to Australia.
While it's been widely reported that his next release would be a funk album, "Negrophilia," Kravitz said: "I'm actually working on two or three albums, so I'm not sure which will be next."
Even as he contemplates his musical direction, his fans will see him in an acting role in the widely-anticipated sci-fi thriller movie "The Hunger Games," which hits theaters in March.
Based on Suzanne Collins' successful young adult trilogy, "Hunger Games" is among the most anticipated films of 2012.
APPETITE FOR ACTING
This is the second movie for Kravitz, who made his acting debut in 2009's Oscar-nominated drama "Precious" playing a nurse who befriends the title character. But his acting didn't come completely out of the blue.
"I was offered a lot of movies before I took on 'Precious,' and I turned them all down for years because they were very clichéd." said Kravitz, who delighted in losing himself in the role to the point that he was unrecognizable to many moviegoers.
"I saw Quentin Tarantino and he was like, 'I kept trying to figure out throughout the whole movie who that was. I didn't realize it was you,'" Kravitz happily recounted. "That's the greatest compliment."
In "Hunger Games," Kravitz portrays the talented and innovative Cinna, a visionary stylist and trusted friend to teen gladiator Katniss, portrayed by Jennifer Lawrence. He said it was the character's artistic ability and caring nature that appealed to him. The fact that he was already friends with Lawrence helped him get into character.
"I had a relationship with Jennifer through my daughter (actress Zoë Kravitz). They filmed 'X-Men' (First Class) together in London, and used to come to the house in Paris on weekends," said Kravitz. He said his friendship with Lawrence made working together "comfortable and really fun. She's an amazing actress."
Kravitz said as film scripts pour in, he continues to be selective about future acting jobs. He hopes to work with friend and 'Precious' director Lee Daniels again and take roles that his fans don't see coming.
"I'm looking for interesting characters," said Kravitz. "I'm looking forward to being busy. Great roles, great characters and things that are not expected."
(Reporting by Sabrina Ford; Editing by Bob Tourtellotte)