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Ryan Leslie: LES IS MORE

Black Music Month

Ryan Leslie: LES IS MORE

The Harvard grad producer has already worked with superstars like Beyonce, Diddy, The Game and more. After an international tour with Ne-Yo, Ryan Leslie is ready to take his music to the next level with a new album and a fantastic NYC show. As he prepares for two huge shows this week – June 22 & 23 – at the Bowery Ballroom in NYC, the singer/producer reflects on community, new media and his new album, Les (as in Leslie) Is More.

THE POWER OF MUSIC
After creating the hit, “Keep Giving Your Love To Me” for Beyonce off of the Bad Boys 2 soundtrack during his 30 day internship, it’s a wonder who influences Leslie, who is such an influence in the music game himself.

“Right now I’m really into Janis Joplin’s version of ‘Summertime.’ I’ve heard so many versions of it, it’s just cool to hear a woman’s take on it,” Leslie explains.

Leslie’s fans are also inspired by his music. One of their favorites – “Gibberish” – has fans wondering what the inspiration behind it was. The producer is a firm believer that good music can’t go unnoticed even if you don’t say anything.

“‘Gibberish’ is just proof of how powerful music is.”

And he’s right, as one the most viewed videos on his YouTube channel (with 1.6 million+ views), fans can’t get enough of the unorthodox hit.

SOCIAL MEDIA
After releasing the video for the making of his single, “Addiction” (which received 2 million hits alone), Leslie’s new media power is realized after receiving 24 million hits on his YouTube channel. He’s one of the few stars who’s maximized the power of new media and connects with fans regularly through his website, RyanLeslie.com, his Facebook fan page and Twitter (@RyanLeslie.)

His relationship with his following has also benefitted the likes of his artists Cassie and Krys Ivory. And more so, it’s made him appealing for national endorsements from Lexus and more recently, Adidas for their Original Neighborhoods campaign. And as his brand continues to grow, he shows no signs of slowing down.

ORIGINALITY, COMMUNITY & LESSONS LEARNED
Aside from creating music that takes himself and other artists to superstar status, Leslie is thoroughly involved in his community. The star recently received the AMBLE (Aspiring Minority Business Leaders & Entrepreneurs) from Harvard. When he received the award, he spoke to approximately 100 students, telling them to go after their dream no matter what.

Why is community and giving back so important to him? “Usher once told me that as an artist, people will listen to what you have to sing, but not necessarily to what you have to say. I’m in a position where they are listening to me talk and that’s important.”

The producer just collaborated with Adidas for their Original Neighborhoods campaign and created an online four part video series where he showed his neighborhood of Harlem (where he has lived since 2003) and shared his music. For someone who’s already accomplished so much, he’s realized that happiness is internal instead of external.

“Happiness is about what you do, not what you have.”

LES IS MORE
As he prepares for his new album, Les Is More, the artist is looking to take a different approach. He plans to record all of the album’s tracks live and then tweak accordingly yet sparingly. The band he’s been preparing with has truly been delivering “magic” and he’s excited to share his new stuff.

“We just did a record called, ‘Glory,'” he says. “I’m really excited to share it. I was gonna play it at a show in Maryland, but I’m gonna wait and save it for the show at Bowery.”

With personal and professional growth, it looks like the man who brought us Ryan Leslie and Transition is on another level. With him listening to some Janis Joplin and recording live, it’s possible we’re bound to get more than what we expected: a Ryan Leslie we’ve never heard before.

Check out the promo to Ryan Leslie’s upcoming NYC show at the Bowery Ballroom.
—— By: Mattie James

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