Lenny Kravitz says R&B singer Teena Marie, who died on Sunday at age 54, was instrumental in his journey to become the Grammy-winning rock musician he is today.
"I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for Teena," Kravitz, 46, said in a video posted on his YouTube page, made from a clip he recorded in Paris on his iPhone. "She took me in when I was around 16. I was just a musician on the street."
"She took me in, she gave me a bedroom, she fed me, she cooked for me, she took care of me," he said. "She gave me instruments to play, she took me to all her recording sessions, she took me to concerts, she nurtured me and helped me to become who I am."
Marie, who was signed by Motown Records at age 19, was known as the "Ivory Queen of Soul" and was regarded by many as one of the most gifted and respected white acts to sing soul music. She had toured in recent years after overcoming an addiction to prescription drugs.
The singer, born Marie Christine Brockert in Santa Monica, was known for hits such as the 1984 song "Lovergirl" and also produced music with legendary funk singer Rick James, with whom she had a long-lasting and turbulent relationship.
"She changed my life," Kravitz, who is known for songs such as "Are You Gonna Go My Way" and "Fly Away," said in his video message. "Not only as an artist but as a person who truly loved me for who I was. We'd been out of contact for the last few years. I just want to say, Teena, that I will always love and respect you. Thank you for being my friend. "
Marie was discovered dead inside her Los Angeles home on Sunday afternoon by her daughter, the singer's manager Mike Gardner told CNN. The cause of her death is not yet clear, but the songstress' publicist said Marie suffered a grand mal seizure, according to the network.
Check out Lenny Kravitz's video message about Teena Marie below.