Almost Famous

The Avenues to Success

Mr. Ryan Leslie

ryan-leslie“They try to put me in a box, it’s impossible!” Ryan Leslie says in the beginning of “Diamond Girl” off of his much anticipated, self-titled, debut album. The question still remains, “who is Ryan Leslie?” for much of the crowd, but during the midnight release of his debut album on February 10th Leslie sold out the Times Square Virgin Super Store and during the 1st week was over 190% in projected album sales. Leslie’s album also topped out on iTunes top 10 albums just during the first day. So who is Ryan Leslie? A producer, song writer, singer, entrepreneur, performer, YouTube blogger, and a Harvard graduate at 19 years old with a degree in government and economics. RyanLeslieTV, his official YouTube channel, boasts over 50,000 subscribers and centralizes Leslie’s talent and passion in the studio which probably contributed to his first week’s outrageous album sales. While must underground artists look at YouTube as a median to distribute and showcase themselves, Leslie, on a mainstream level used it as distribution as well, but more importantly documented his entire life in and out of the studio to relate to his fans on a more personal basis. From creating a new hit track for his 2006 project Bad Boy-signed Cassie to catching lunch in Harlem, Ryan Leslie puts a camera on his star-studded lifestyle. Leslie even updates his facebook and twitter statues to where exactly he will be and fans have reported actually seeing and meeting up with him at those places. Studio sessions for Leslie are truly where his debut album shines, too bad they don’t come included on the album as extra content.

Leslie’s polished tracks on his debut are hardly the thin air they were created from. Walking into a studio with Ryan Leslie through the eyes of YouTube is like a fantasy of hundreds of different instruments coming together in perfect chemistry and Leslie is the mad scientist. At one point on his YouTube adventures Leslie rush orders a “pocket trumpet” from the internet and has it rush delivered to his door that same day just to sample a few notes from it. His adoration on YouTube creates an additional fan base that admires his pure music creation, not really his affiliation with any other artists or his probably unknown producing he did for artists such as Britney Spears, New Edition, or JoJo. The long overdue self-titled album, some fans who’ve waited years for, will be very much a repeat for many avid fans. A good portion of the tracks are the studio creations he documented on YouTube months before, but Leslie throws in some re-worked versions of old favorites and a good handful of newer tracks. With the exception of “Addiction” featuring Cassie and Fabulous, Leslie rides solo. The five-piece studio orchestra is found throughout the album which sets Ryan Leslie apart from the rest of the producing legends because the only thing he’s sampling is himself and so far the only thing he’s producing is the definition of passion.

Real talk.

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February 22, 2009 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , ,

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