INTERVIEW: Ryan Leslie
by Marcus K. Dowling
As a music fan, it’s entirely possible to forget every time you noted just how amazing Ryan Leslie is. His excellence is a study not in bombastic pop success, but in seemingly effortless brilliance. It’s a testament to the nature of his name delivering immediate cosigns to his developing iconic urban music excellence that packed Washington, DC’s Park at 14th on Friday evening as the performer/producer/heart throb performed a tight set of his biggest hits to a crowd deliriously tied to his every word and step at the event promoted by Beny Blaq Entertainment.
Probably the only genius level, perfect score on the SAT scoring Harvard graduate at 19 that you’d find perfectly at ease in the middle of people rolling with straight shots and popping bottles, Leslie‘s performance touched on his dominant three year stranglehold on top tracks meant for nightclub and late night moves. “Diamond Girl,” “Addiction,” “You’re Not My Girl” and his most recent top ten Billboard rap chart hit produced for Fabolous, “shoeicidal” club smash “Girl You Be Killin’ Em” were highlights of his set. Notable as well was the debut of what is likely to be the lead single of his premiere album as an independent artist Les Is More, “Beautiful Lie.” Displaying the Prince inspired soaring synths that are a Leslie trademark alongside a bountiful hook, the track promises to be a smash.
“It’s like I’ve always been a solo artist,” Leslie states. “I’ve worked with so many artists as a producer and have had so many opportunities, and I’m looking forward to really getting to do this on my own.” Les is More, apropos of his latest career developments, will be an indie debut that stores on Independence Day, July 4th. Leslie has rapped before on releases and counts Fabolous as a constant professional influence, so the nature of this record being almost solely a rap release is a concept that does not worry Leslie. “This album is real rap. I’m definitely prepared, and know that my skills are solid,” he states.
Being exceedingly thoughtful and aware has obviously been a staple in the life of Ryan Leslie since birth. The sensual intellectual’s latest path is a path destined for success. In finding the best road to becoming a pop trending R & B performer, he hopes to go from a name cosigned for great talent to a name respected for genius and on the path to being lauded as pop legend.