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Lenny Kravitz Recalls Becoming Friends with Mariah Carey When 'She Worked at a Sports Bar' (Exclusive)

"We met on the east side in New York, and we were around the same group of friends," Kravitz tells PEOPLE at the Recording Academy Honors

<p>George Pimentel/FilmMagic</p> Mariah Carey and Lenny Kravitz ni Cannes in May 2009

George Pimentel/FilmMagic

Mariah Carey and Lenny Kravitz ni Cannes in May 2009

Decades before they reached icon status, Lenny Kravitz and Mariah Carey became friends.

Both stars received awards at the Recording Academy Honors, presented by the Black Music Collective, in Los Angeles on Thursday and Kravitz opened up to PEOPLE on the red carpet about the origins of their bond.

"We met on the east side in New York, and we were around the same group of friends," the 59-year-old "American Woman" singer tells PEOPLE of Carey, 54, whom he starred alongside in Lee Daniels' 2009 film Precious.

"She was working on her demos. I was working on mine. She worked at a sports bar I used to hang out at," recalled Kravitz. "So, it's extra special to be sharing this night with Mariah."

<p>Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic (2)</p> Lenny Kravitz; Mariah Carey in Los Angeles on Feb. 1, 2024

Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic (2)

Lenny Kravitz; Mariah Carey in Los Angeles on Feb. 1, 2024

Related: Mariah Carey Wears Leg-Baring Bronze Gown at the 2024 Recording Academy Honors

Kravitz also recalled being joined by some feline friends when the pair would hang out at Carey's apartment.

"We used to go over to their house and hang out. She had a bunch of cats," he told Entertainment Tonight, without clarifying whether the pets were Carey's or her roommate's.

"And I remember her playing her cassettes and me playing mine and here we are tonight on the same night, which is cool," Kravitz said.

He and Carey both received the Recording Academy Global Impact Award, a CEO Merit Award, during the ceremony, held at Fairmont Century Plaza in Los Angeles.

This week, Kravitz also appears on the cover of PEOPLE — and he spoke about the experience on the event's red carpet. "It's surreal to be on the cover of PEOPLE and to be at the checkout stand," he said, before recalling the photoshoot. "It was a fun day. [I] had a great time shooting up in the hills in Malibu."

<p>ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images</p> Lenny Kravitz accepts his award at the Recording Academy Honor in Los Angeles on Feb. 1, 2024

ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images

Lenny Kravitz accepts his award at the Recording Academy Honor in Los Angeles on Feb. 1, 2024

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In the cover story, the Grammy winner reflected on his early days as an aspiring rock star shopping his music to record labels in the '80s and getting told he didn't fit the bill as a Black artist.

"I was told my music wasn’t Black enough or wasn't white enough," he said, noting that regarding his eclectic musical interests, record labels "said I had to make a choice, but I never did."

Related: Lenny Kravitz Is Letting Love Rule! The Rockstar Opens Up About Family and the 'Power' of Black Musicians (Exclusive)

<p>Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic</p> Lenny Kravitz at the Recording Academy Honors in Los Angeles on Feb. 1, 2024

Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

Lenny Kravitz at the Recording Academy Honors in Los Angeles on Feb. 1, 2024

Kravitz added, "I was told that I need to make the music that Black people commercially are making that's on the radio, so you'll have success. And I just could never get with any of that. I was going to make the music that I made."

These days, the musician — whose new album Blue Electric Light drops March 22 — has proven himself and looks to both his past and present for inspiration.

"It's sort of amazing to me that I could be where I am now and feel fresh and hungry," said Kravitz, before revealing the best part about being a bona fide rock star: "This is who God created me to be. I'm just trying to walk in that destiny."

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Read the original article on People.