Catching up with Ryan Leslie on his Ryan Leslie Collection, Graduating from Harvard, 3 main fashion tips to keeping it classy & more. You don’t want to miss out on this interview as we spoke on these specific questions. Check out the exclusive interview audio below.
Q: How are you this morning?
A. I’m doing great. How are you?
Q: So tell me about your “Black Mozart” Documentary?
A. Regarding to the Black Mozart Documentary, I wanted to create a film that gave a window to the world into my creative process. Not only just a window into my creative process but a window to my day to day so the people could know that I work harder than anyone in the business. Meaning that my days in the business are longer than anyone else because I only sleep 2-3 hours every 24hrs, I wanted people to have an understanding that when I decide to do a project and since I’m independent that I actually cover all aspects of the project and not only do I cover all aspects of the project but Im also giving opportunities to young people around the world so when you look at the scene around the table and their having a staff meeting theirs a young man with a british accent that started as an intern and went on to lead the team in Austria put together the itinerary, but what was different from my itinerary to everybody else’s itinerary was that when everybody else went to sleep I actually stayed up cutting the movie myself, so I would do studio time I bought a young man by the name of ______ who actually told the documentary he would deliver all the footage and while everyone went to sleep I would be actually cutting the film and recorded the album in 6 days. I Executive produced it and edited the film.
Q. Explain the renegades?
A.The renegades is a music club, because the way the music industry is currently running they need to be rebellion a rebellion favor of artist getting money. They type of money artist actually deserve and so the renegades really was built as an experiment and it’s now grown into a very strong business and a business platform any independent artist so what that means is uh there are a few pillars of this business which are the foundation of a new paradox for the music industry and so the first of those is that as musicians I believe that if every musician in order to be successful they should know every single person who actually supports their music so one of my favorite introductions is the last of the weeks is to the young man by the name of Drew Houston, he is the CEO of dropbox he actually has 200 million users he knows every single one of them, I also have a friend by the name of Einhorn he runs fancy.com and when I signed up for fancy.com I went later on in the day to the knicks game and I received a personal email from Joseph the CEO huh thanking me for signing up for the site and letting me know that I could reach him if he can be in any service to make the experience on his site any better and so taking Ques out of both of those very probable companies. Dropbox is a multi-billion dollar company and then fancy worth about a half a billion dollars and both of those companies.
I believe they are successful because they understand who they’re supporters are and who they’re customers are and so for me as a musician I realized that if someone bought my album in which the knicks game I wouldn’t be able to send them an email and tell em thank you and ask them if i could be any service with their music experience so I wanted to create a community where I could do this that’s what the renegades is all about so all day long I actually get a notification every single time some one joins the renegades in support of my music and so at the end of the day I can look at a list of every single person who supported the album and I can reach out to them and tell them thank you not only that every single day if i actually move 400 people to actually support the movement that money that they give me I don’t wait three months I actually at midnight it enters my bank account I believe that’s how the music industry should work and as an artist has an album for sale ummm Like Rick Ross, Ashanti, Pharrell I believe that the artist should know every single person who supports the album I believe that’s important because uh people can get the album for free and so set those apart who actually support the album and appreciate them…..continued. (Listen To Audio)
Q: So I hear you were a Harvard student? Correct. Explain that a little bit.
A. I went to Harvard as a teenager I was a senior at Harvard by the age of 19. I gave the Harvard aeration in which I encouraged all graduating class to follow their dreams that’s exactly what I do every single day of my life I’m living a dream throughout the ups and downs huh I have basically living a dream I have written many, many years ago for myself to be a successful musician, a successful entrepreneur a leader, a mentor uh a pillar of pope, pillar of ambition, pillar of aspiration for myself my generation and my culture and so this is the dream that I have for every young person that comes in be apart of my mentorship and internship program and so I believe that Harvard is a great it’s, offered me a great platform, I have many friends uhh you know who’ve graduated from Harvard, I have been in the company of many great alumni including Mark Zuckerburg of Facebook and so I’m extremely excited and proud that I was able to do what my parents envisioned for me they told me that education was the key to the achievement to the american dream so to everyone out there finishing high school, that’s in college I encourage them I encourage you to finish and make sure that you maximize that time because high school and college are really about the networks and the relationships that you make with other young people who want to make an impact a difference in the world.
Q: So you’ve worked with a slew of artist, name a few tracks that you’ve written that some people may have not known you written?
A. My biggest record of all-time was a record for Cassie by the name of Me&You, I wrote and produced the whole album the album was an incredible runaway success and it was the first time in the history of social media where someone social media following actually equaled to the number of records they sold so that means 600 thousand myspace friends at the time and she moved 600 thousand records world wide that’s never happened again in the history of social media I’m working through my new business paradox to make sure that we replicate that success again aside from that there’s been a lot of different collaborations Fly Together with Red Cafe, Ricky Rozay, Start it Up with Kanye West, Lloyd Banks, Swizzy, Pusha-T, Christian Dior Denim Flow with me Kanye West, Pusha-T, Lloyd banks again, John Legend, Kid Cudi uhhh the list goes on an on and on. But those are a few records that people may know and recgonize.
Q: Do you enjoy writing more than actually doing songs?
A. Uhh I know that my calling in life is to be on stage and to burn down any stage that I’m on so I write those records so that I can go perform them in venues around the world I know that my calling in life is to go and connect people through music on stage and do things that no other rapper can do and so a lot of folks say well why aren’t you R&B. I’m music, I’m a creator, I rap, I sing I do whatever I want you know my last two records have been rap records so people need to get with the program “les is more” and “Black Mozart” both rap records actually at the encouragement of Kanye West I was in the studio working with him on the Good Friday series he said “yo ryan if you feel like you want to do a rap record then do a rap record”. I’ve traded bars with some of the best rappers in the game from Talib Kweli outstanding, Raekwon, Pusha-T, Kanye West you name it you can say what you want those folks have been you know fabolous my long-time collaborater all those folks have been gracious enough to allow me the artistic perspective and uh artistic freedom to express my self in any way that I want as I said I believe my calling is to be on these stages burning down stages everywhere and putting together concert experiences that other rappers just can’t put together based on my ability to actually play the instrument that I love the most that’s why the record is called “Black Mozart” so that I can actually sit behind a grand piano and play for 30 minutes if I want to and people will still get their money’s worth for concerts the last concerts that I did I have a new film ……continued. (Listen To Audio)
Q: What are 3 Main fashion Tips To keeping it classy?
A. (Listen To The Audio spits a few verses)
Q: Do you believe your one of the best dressed dudes in the game?
A. Yes, absolutely. Being the best dressed actually comes from your attitude and how you actually wear your clothes, clothes don’e make the man…..continued. (Listen To Audio)
Q: Name some of your favorite shoes brands?
A. I’m real simple, i’m very very simple I go with the J’s all day if I actually have to dress it up you know I’d also Timberland, J’s maybe Balenciagas are a few sneakers that I really like.
Q: Tell me a bit about the Ryan Leslie Collection?
A. The collection is totally different from the merchandise, I want people to know theirs a distinction between the Black Mozart merchandise that is very much more about letting everyone in the community have apiece of apparel that they can rock to the concert so the black Mozart the tee, the album….continued. (Lisetn To Full Audio)
Q: What new pieces should we look forward to within the collection?
A. (Listen To Full Interview Audio)
Q: Which is your favorite piece from your collection?
A. The whole collection, the reason I love this collection is because I also have a collaborative backpack with a company called “kill spencer” in LA. So you know I can actually be wearing my entire collection everyday and when I’m going on a trip its great to be able to throw the entire collection into one duffle, so heres the Ryan Leslie collection jeans uhhh tow or three Ryan Leslie collection black tees, the bomber jacket, super simple so i can have that all black everything together folded nicely into a duffle bag traveling in style at all times.
Q: How would like your future wife/gf to dress?
A. I want her to dress the exact same way with the attitude that I have her expression should come from within, her expression should come from what she’s actually doing….(continued) (Listen To Full Interview Audio)
Q: One of my favorite tracks off your album is the “5 Minute Freshen Up”, How did the “5 Minute freshen up” come about?
A. (Listen To Audio)
Q: Your Last Words?
A. (Listen To Full Interview Audio)
This wraps up my interview with Ryan! Thanks for your time!
Fan Club: Renegadesnyc.com
Interviewed by Imarashed