Not So New Black Kid On The Block: Ryan Leslie

- By Bossip Staff

Posted by Bossip Staff

Diddy’s ivy league protege’, Ryan Leslie, has journeyed from Harvard to artistry almost seamlessly:

Bossip: So, tell me how you went from Harvard to the music industry.
Ryan Leslie: My parents are immigrants from the Caribbean Islands. My mother whom is Dutch, Chinese and African descent would meet my father who was born in Barbados and raised in Trinidad, and connect based on their love for music. Music is something that comes from my parents, but also from my parents comes a strong sense of education. Being, immigrants, they wanted to make sure that my sister and I had a fair shot at achieving the American dream, which would be to live our passions. They knew that education was an essential building block in the foundation of that pursuit. I was a precocious youngster, and was getting into a lot of trouble in school. Finally one of my teachers suggested that I go for testing. I tested into the talented, gifted program. Initially I wanted to be a doctor because I wanted my parents to be proud of me. As a kid (15) I tested out of high school. I applied to Harvard, Stanford and Yale. With great pride and honor my parents shipped me off as a teenager to Harvard.

Bossip: You were a pre-med major? When did you decide to do music?
Ryan Leslie: During that time I was introduced to the music of Stevie Wonder and was resolved to chase the contribution and the legacy. I called my father and said that I’ve found my calling in life and I’m switching majors, I’m no longer pre-med. I’m going to go to a humanities major which would allow me more time to focus on music. There was a studio in the basement of my dorm, and I taught myself to produce records. Four years later with three academic probation slaps on the wrist, I did graduate on time.

Bossip: When did you hook up with Diddy?
Ryan Leslie: Fast forward to 2003, after many thwarted attempts, and producing for independent acts, I started interning for a producer who introduced my music to Diddy. Diddy signed me on the spot after a chance meeting and hearing a record I produced for New Edition called “Hot Tonight”. All at once in 2003, my life changed. I was looking at six figure checks and was able to repay my father who invested some credit in my career. From 2003 to 2005, I was under the mentorship of Diddy. After a very fruitful relationship two year management with him, I signed my first artist to the Next Selection Imprint. Her name is Cassie. I wrote and produced our very first single, Me and You went on to write and produce her entire first album.

Bossip: Tell us about your album, Ryan Leslie.
Ryan Leslie: My cd is about six years in the making. After many delays, we’ve been able to come to an agreement. This album is a snapshot of my life. It’s self titled for the simple fact that if you know the name of album, you know the name of the singer, producer and background singer. When I would read the credits in the albums of people like Prince, James Brown and Stevie Wonder, I would see that it was written, arranged and produced by the artist. I wanted to make that type of contribution.

Bossip: What’s your genre?
Ryan Leslie: I find it challenging to categorize myself because I just do the music that I love, the music that inspires me. I wouldn’t personally categorize my music in any specific genre.

Click here to see a few African Americans highlights at Harvard today.

Check out Ryan’s latest video How It Was Supposed To Be.

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  • Ermy Erm ( I stand by my disappointed groan)

    Guess he’ll get 15 mins

  • bronzedasian

    1st biyatches

  • bronzedasian

    oh well 2nd…LMAO

  • Joline

    e was said to be found at a millionaire & celebrity dating club ____MillionaireLoving. C O M____ not long before, and he was hot there.Quite a few girls and ladies winked to him.

  • DICooper

    Good for you. I like Diamond Girl. I haven’t heard anything else I like yet, though.

  • You Smell Me??

    album is hot. especially Gibberish…even though I dont know what the hell he is saying…

  • micolicious

    hey kathy whats the t girl…. you diddy sleepin with this dude right .. it all makes sense now

  • Kevan

    I fully support Ryan Leslie, his Album is dope, I hope its not slept on…its better than Jamie Foxx and thas for sure…


  • LovelyBrown

    Addiction is hot – so is How it’s Supposed to be – haven’t listen to the whole album yet..

  • Lee

    What?? You all better get on this CD…the whole CD is hot…R Les is a true artist…support good albums!

  • elle

    damn bossip you are so fake, all that talk about his chick cassie and how she f*ck for tracks and not one question about the relationship?! you fail

  • elle

    album is hot. especially Gibberish…even though I dont know what the hell he is saying…

    that’s the point it’s nothing but gibberish, thats one of my favorites too I love quicksand the most

  • Yea

    Buy his Cd it’s soooo good

  • sniper

    Anyone into hip hop that doesn’t know who Ryan Leslie is by now, has been in a cave for these past few years.

  • mslively6

    bossip, it’s about time you decided to highlight such a phenomenal and refreshing talent like Ryan Leslie. watching what this man can do production wise is not only entertaining but inspiring as well.

    the album is probably the BEST in my collection right now. “quicksand”, “I-R-I-N-A” and “out of the blue” are the strongest tracks–although all of them are very good.

    i’d love to see more of him.

  • NYC Gal

    Rihanna is sooooo much prettier than that chick Cassie!!

  • Marc B's Honey

    Is cd is actually the biz…I love it, but a lot of the teeny-boppers probably won’t relate. It’s for a mature audience…

  • Marc B's Honey

    sorry…I meant “his” cd

  • Marc B's Honey

    What does Rihanna have to do with any of this?

  • Candid Canuck

    I like his musik but all this women crooning is gettin played out.

  • noelle

    Rihanna is sooo f’ing hot. Ye will not let me…nevermind. Him and Ye should have went to the same school.

  • PYT

    SOOOOO in LOVE w/this guy.

    Ambition, intellect…and TALENT!!! Yum

  • Soulgerian1982 check out his work, his works, etc. He is the future of Hip-hop/R&B….his beats are catchy and accessible and his remixes are en fuego!!!!

  • mechepeach

    Its funny to see how people who just can’t say their black. When you ask them about their race (or not in his case cause nobody asked him that)it turns out sounding like a recipe…

    Im 20% this and 30% that…LMAO!!!

  • noelle

    Feb 26, 2009 – 11:45 am mechepeach

    Its funny to see how people who just can’t say their black. When you ask them about their race (or not in his case cause nobody asked him that)it turns out sounding like a recipe…

    Im 20% this and 30% that…LMAO!!!

    Aw, my mom calls me a lazy black American. Because I was born here and she was born in Africa. I am American to her, not African. Sad lol

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