Most people at the tender age of 15 are busy updating Myspace profiles, twiddling their thumbs trying to crack hidden codes in fantasy video games or testing their limitations with the ‘rentals as they emerge into defiance and regular teen antics. But, for singer, songwriter, producer, director- okay, the list is too expansive to individually itemize, so for media impresario, Ryan Leslie, 15 was a time for easing into what a perfect 1600 score on that SAT’s will get you.
Knocking on the door of Harvard University is quite an accomplishment for a 15 year old, but graduating at 19 with a degree in Government and Economics, only a year after most young adults are projected to finish their freshman year in college, is a feat that deserves more than just a congratulatory glance; it warrants a rather burning anticipation as you wait to see what he does next.
An educated guess would easily lead you in the footsteps of a Bill Gates, Al Gore, or Barack Obama-esque occupation, which for them was also backed by the opportunity to grace the Crimson Halls of Harvard. But for a young kid with an obsession with Stevie Wonder and a knack for sheer creativity, stepping into any position as a CEO would have to include a music production studio, equipped with documentary style cameras, floors of free expression and unlimited internet access, as opposed to having a cliché corner office with a perfect skyline view.
Everywhere he goes, cameras follow him, not just to create unique uploads for his online videography made possible through his Youtube Channel called RyanLeslieTV, but to give the world a visual glimpse at history in the making. You see, if I told you a kid who graduated from Harvard University at 19 was the next to follow in a short list of true musical masterminds, would you believe me? Well, now you have the option to go and see it for yourself.
Next Selection Lifestyle Group is the result of a formulated vision for a media creating outlet with a limitless abound of ingenuity. It’s also the star child of Leslie who nurtured its full potential and then watched it spread its wings into every area of self expression. The man’s foolproof use of marketing through the Internet to get his musical message across via a website, video channel and Myspace Page has helped give us a window into his artistic capabilities. As the father of Cassie’s “Me and U” New Edition’s “Hot 2Nite”, and Donell Jones’ “Better Start Talking”, to name only a few, Leslie holds his music under more than just a notable checklist of his accomplishments, but also a testament to his abilities to deliver his vision into an offspring. Even when it comes to his own self-titled album he carries the statute of a proud parent, and equally supports each creation off his astonishing debut.
“You know what, each one of those tracks came from me, they are like my children…you cant pick a fave child, you know? I think I like them all and I like them all the same for different reasons,” He states.
Leslie is one of the only artists around who are responsible for contributing to every aspect of their musical success.
“The album is actually self titled and I did so because the artists that always inspired me have always been the type like a Stevie Wonder or Prince who were self contained. They were the writers, producers, the songwriters, performers, everything …for me this album represents my version of an artistic expression in that vain. I am the writer producer, arranger, performer, and I recorded all the records myself,” reveals Leslie.
He’s also financed the creations of several film clips promoting his albums singles, proving that it’s not just about making good music but also generating a complete experience.
Already giving us just a taste of his delicious debut entry with the singles “Diamond Girl”, “Addiction”, and “How It Was Supposed To Be”, we can clearly see through his pattern of steady hit-making that this 12-track memento will easily be regarded as a classic. What makes Leslie different from all the other three-tier artists around is that for him, it’s not about sampling tracks, writing slick hooks, or singing over a recycled melody. It’s about orchestrating a symphony of refinement from a standpoint of creating originality. “Really at the end of the day, it’s about all three of those working in tandem to create some sort of expression. I really would feel helpless and lifeless if I were deprived of any of those three avenues for expressing myself,” says Leslie.
For more information on Ryan Leslie please visit www.ryanleslie.com.