Anthony Ryan Leslie, born on September 25, 1978, is a multifaceted American talent known for his prowess as a singer, songwriter, record producer, and entrepreneur. With a career spanning various genres, including R&B, hip-hop, pop, and gospel, Leslie has left an indelible mark on the music industry. From working with industry heavyweights to founding his music-media company, NextSelection Lifestyle Group, and pioneering direct text marketing with SuperPhone, Ryan Leslie has consistently showcased a combination of musical genius and entrepreneurial spirit.
Early Career and Harvard Days:
Ryan Leslie’s journey into the music industry began during his freshman year at Harvard, where he spent countless hours honing his musical skills in a campus studio. Despite academic challenges and multiple instances of academic probation, Leslie’s passion for music prevailed. He even sold instrumentals to local artists in the Boston area to support himself financially. Leslie’s dedication to his craft and resilience during his college years laid the foundation for his future success.
A Breakthrough in the Industry:
In 2003, Leslie’s career received a significant boost when he secured a production internship with Younglord, producing a song for Beyoncé that caught the attention of Sean “Diddy” Combs. This led to a management contract and marked the jump-start of Leslie’s career in the music industry. Under the mentorship of Tommy Mottola and Diddy, Leslie’s talents flourished, and he played a crucial role in projects for artists like Britney Spears and the formation of NextSelection.
Record Labels, Setbacks, and Independence:
Leslie’s journey included a deal with Universal Motown, during which he began recording his debut album, “Just Right.” However, due to creative differences, the album was never officially released. Despite setbacks, Leslie returned to the studio in 2006, releasing singles like “Diamond Girl” and “Addiction,” paving the way for his self-titled debut album in 2009. Leslie’s departure from Universal Motown allowed him newfound independence, marked by performances of previously restricted songs.
Les Is More and Black Mozart:
Leslie continued to evolve his musical style and independence, releasing his third album, “Les Is More,” in 2012, experimenting with a visual album format. His fourth studio album, “Black Mozart,” released in 2013, showcased Leslie’s commitment to creative expression and a departure from traditional album release methods. This innovative approach set the stage for the evolution of the music industry’s distribution models.
Ryan Leslie’s impact extends beyond music into entrepreneurship. Co-founding NextSelection Lifestyle Group, he played a pivotal role in launching the career of R&B sensation Cassie. His interactive daily video blog provided a unique glimpse into the music industry and his life, fostering a deeper connection with fans. Notably, Leslie’s venture SuperPhone introduced a direct text marketing service, embraced by artists like Kanye West and 50 Cent.
Influence and Online Presence:
Stevie Wonder’s influence looms large in Leslie’s music, with additional inspiration drawn from Michael Jackson, Prince, and other musical giants. Leslie’s online presence, including his blog, YouTube channel, and social media, has been instrumental in building and engaging with his fanbase. His innovative use of digital media reflects a forward-thinking approach to the evolving landscape of the music industry.
Ryan Leslie Age
How old is Ryan Leslie? Ryan Leslie was born on September 25, 1978.
Ryan Leslie Height
How tall is Ryan Leslie? Ryan Leslie stands at a height of 5 feet 11 inches.
Here are some of the key record labels that have played a role in his musical journey:
- Ryan Leslie co-founded NextSelection Lifestyle Group, which served as his music-media company. Under this label, Leslie signed his first artist, Cassie, in 2005. Cassie’s breakout hit “Me & U” was written and produced by Leslie, contributing to her rapid rise in the R&B scene.
- Ryan Leslie worked under the management of Sean “Diddy” Combs and collaborated on various Bad Boy Records projects. During his time with Bad Boy Records, Leslie co-produced records for artists like Loon, Cheri Dennis, B5, New Edition, and Danity Kane.
- Leslie’s debut album, “Ryan Leslie,” was released under Universal Motown Records in February 2009. This album featured singles like “Diamond Girl,” “Addiction,” and “How It Was Supposed to Be.”
- Ryan Leslie signed a publishing deal with Aspen Songs and a recording contract with Casablanca, a label founded by Tommy Mottola and distributed by Universal Music Group.
- #Renegades (Independent):
- In 2012, Ryan Leslie embraced independence and released his third album, “Les Is More,” on October 22, 2012. This marked a shift towards an independent approach to his music.
- SuperPhone (Direct Text Marketing):
- While not a traditional record label, SuperPhone is a venture founded by Ryan Leslie. It is a direct text marketing service that he introduced, changing the way musicians connect with fans and release music. SuperPhone has been used by Leslie and other artists to engage directly with their audience.
Ryan Leslie Education
At the age of 14, Leslie scored 1600 on his SAT—a perfect score—while attending Bear Creek High School, in Stockton, California. In 1993, he applied to four University of California campuses as well as Stanford, Yale, and Harvard. In his application essays, he explained his interest in matriculating from his junior year in high school without having earned a diploma. He was accepted to all except for Stanford. He ultimately decided to attend Harvard College. At the age of 19, Leslie graduated from Harvard with a degree in government, concentrating in political science and macroeconomics.