Ryan Leslie has been dubbed as a “musical genius” for years now and nobody fits the description more perfectly than him. Graduating from Harvard University at the tender age of 19, R. Les knew he wanted to pursue a career in the music industry and he made it happen. Not only did he dominate the music business over the years, but he has also taken his knowledge of both social media and technology to another level, which helped contribute to his extreme success.

With the launch of his artist-to-fan platform called Disruptive Multimedia, R. Les allows his fans to contact him directly via text message (read the interview below for his phone number!) He also created an exclusive Ryan Leslie fan-club called the #Renegades. Along with a one-time $12 membership fee, you get access to his Black Mozart album along with a bunch of other dope perks including the chance to have a personable relationship with the “Diamond Girl” artist. To promote his upcoming project entitled M.Z.R.T. (pronounced “Mozart,”) Ryan will be debuting a new video every month starting in September until all of his music from the album is released.

Ryan Leslie will be bringing his #RenegadeNation tour to NYC this Wednesday, August 20th at the Bowery Ballroom located at 6 Delancey Street in New York, NY. Doors open at 7:00 PM and tickets can be purchased here. To read the full exclusive IFWT interview with Ryan Leslie to find out his dream collab, definition of a perfect date and his opinion on current New York Hip-Hop plus much, much more– click below and enjoy!


InFlexWeTrust: You’ve been in the game for such a long time and have really proved to everyone how brilliant you are but not everyone knows your super impressive educational background. What was it like graduating from high school at the age of 15 and Harvard at just 19-years-old?
Ryan Leslie:
It was a responsibility I believe to be an artist that could reflect that kind of educational training ground. So, that means that it, to me, made me feel very responsible for being a pioneer and if you look at my career to date and if you look at the success stories and milestones that I’ve been able to achieve thus far, they always have a ring to them of being forward thinking and as revolutionary as I could afford to be.

IFWT: Did the kids treat you differently in college being that you were still practically a baby?
YES *chuckles,* of course they did.

IFWT: You’re originally from Washington, D.C. but currently reside in New York. What’s your perspective on the current state of NY music as a whole?
I’m representing what I represent. I believe that I claim New York just as much as anyone else. From my collaborations with Lloyd Banks to the remix with Jadakiss to an extensive catalog with Fabolous to studio sessions with 50 Cent and Jay Z. I love everything that NY stands for; the hustle, the music and the legacy.

IFWT: As you said, you’ve worked with various artists such as Fabolous, Kanye West, Cassie, Jadakiss, Lloyd Banks, Swizz Beatz, Red Café and Rick Ross to name a few. Who would your dream collab be with?
If I could collab with anyone in the world both dead or alive, I would have to go with the late great Jimi Hendrix.

IFWT: Growing up, I’m sure music was a big part of your childhood. Who were some of the main people in your life that influenced you to peruse a career in the music field?
My parents without a doubt. My mother classically trained piano players so, kudos to her.

IFWT: I know you call yourself the “Black Mozart.” How did that name come about and what does it mean?
I just wanted to have a name that set the bar as high as possible being that Mozart was such a world-renowned musician.

IFWT: Speaking of Mozart, as we know you’re quite the musician. How many instruments do you know how to play?
As far as instruments are concerned, I play them all. When you love the art of music to the extent that I do, it just comes natural.

IFWT: Oh my! If you play that many instruments, I’m almost nervous to ask how many languages you speak.
I actually have a cool hobby of learning languages on the plane before I visit a new country. Whether it be from Rosetta Stone to just picking up a travel book or audio lessons, I just do it. I believe that I enjoy linguistics just as much as I enjoy musical instruments.

IFWT: So many fans dream of having direct contact with their favorite artists via their cell phones. You came up with the genius idea of a new artist-to-fan platform called Disruptive Multimedia. Give us a better insight as to how it works.
The best way for anyone to understand how it works is for people to just send me a text message. My phone number is (915) 600- 6978. Anything you want to know about me, my shows, my merchandise, my fashion line, my music and film projects– just send me a text and we’ll stay in touch! Every single person who supports me is added to my personal address book. It’s something I’ve been doing for a long time and the technology has finally caught up to the idea of being able to scale this to hundreds of thousands of people. It doesn’t matter, day or night, send me a text and I will get it and you WILL get a response. Whether it’s about my music projects or any other inquiries—just be patient and/or be persistent and I’ll make sure I get at you.

IFWT: You also have an exclusive #Renegades club that you’ve launched, what are the perks that come along with being a member and how much does it cost to sign up?
It’s the price of an album, so for $12– you are an OFFICIAL Renegade. You also get the album, Black Mozart, for free when becoming a member. It’s as simple as that.

IFWT: So what about your current relationship status? Are you seeing anyone?
I’m in love with my music but I am seeing someone. I think that it’s important to have a muse.

IFWT: What would you consider to be the “perfect date” for you?
Man, I think you could just look at Dress You To Undress You. It’s one of my videos and one of my favorites at that. I love to travel, so being spontaneous and saying, “hey, we got the jet fired up. Let’s go somewhere. Don’t pack a bag, we’ll just go shopping when we get there.” You know, that’s the type of stuff I’m into. It’s always exciting and memorable.

IFWT: Being a celebrity, I’m sure you have countless females trying to throw themselves on you at all times. What’s the craziest groupie story you’ve experienced?
OHHH MAN * laughs.* I would say that there are too many to mention and I would also say that my music always captures moments like that. If you really want to hear a crazy story, you can listen to my record Breathe, The lyrics explain the whole ordeal and trust me, it was C R A Z Y.

IFWT: You have an upcoming album on the way called M.Z.R.T. (pronounced Mozart.) What can we expect from this project?
This album is co-produced by members of my Black Phoenix Beat Club. I opened a club to be able to actually support upcoming talent. My last record introduced a lot of talent to the scene. I co-produced the entire album and we actually recorded the whole thing in Vienna. This year and this time around, I wanted to just shine a light on young people who potentially just needed more exposure. This is why I opened a membership club that enables young producers to submit music to [me]. So technically, half of the album will be produced by members of the Black Phoenix Beat Club. As for the remainder of the album, I’ll be handling the production duties by myself.

IFWT: Tell us background of the first single off the project called “New New.”
The track is produced by Wondagurl. She and I knocked that record out while I was overseas. Her mom thought I was bluffing. She said, “hey, my bags are always packed,” so I said “Well, if y’all want to come to the studio overseas in Germany, let’s make it happen.” A couple days later, they were there and we put that record together ASAP. We tested it in the club and the feedback was crazy so I knew it was going to be awesome. The video, which we shot in the south of France, is also finished. (Sidebar: Ryan let me preview the video and it is DOPE!)

IFWT: Does M.Z.R.T. stand for anything specifically?
The Magnificently Zealous Renegade Takeover. Zealous meaning full of fervor and enthusiasm and as a club and a concept, the Renegades music club really demonstrates forward thinking. The music will reflect that concept and those types of success stories.

IFWT: Can you spill the beans on any featured artists you have on the album or is that classified info still?
You know what, I’m making the record right now and I always want to make sure that my DNA is clearly injected into the records first. Once that’s complete, I’ll begin to start playing it for people whom I really admire and would hope to collaborate with. So when you look at the collabs from the last album like Green Ft. Fab, it happened exactly in that way. After I had completed the album, I played the documentary for him and that same night, he said he wanted to get on the Green record, which I thought was amazing.

IFWT: Do you have a specific release date for M.Z.R.T. yet?
What’s so dope about the music club is that I can release music as I please. So what I will reveal is that we will release a video every month starting in September starting with the New New video and it will continue until I finish releasing all of the tracks, whenever that may be.

IFWT: Many dub you as a “genius” and going off of your impressive history, you’ve completely earned the title. That being said, if you could give any bit of advice for those working hard to make it in the industry, what would it be?
I would say, triple F double C: Fast, Furious, Frequency of Consistent Content. Either you have a budget for traditional media or you can conquer it using social media. I’m a product of social media and believe in it 100%. Cassie was my first success story and WAS and IS a product of that. I look at a lot of young people now that are finding that ability to express themselves and use social media as an outlet for that creative expression. Shout out Bobby Shmurda. He’s a very, very special case and I would say that if someone is interested in following that trajectory, it comes down to having the work ethic to put out the content that’s necessary to make it and win.

IFWT: Aside from the album on the way, what other projects does R. Les have brewing up behind the scenes and what can we look forward from you in the near future?
I’m focused on this project but I’m also focused on this technology. Anyone that’s interested in having a personal address book of all their supporters around the world and knowing exactly who bought their album and concert tickets along with having a great relationship with those people, holla at me and we’ll make it happen.

(Don’t forget to cop your tickets for Wednesday’s show HERE!)