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Ryan Leslie Interview -- Part 2

His Own Music Career

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Ryan Leslie Interview -- Part 2

Photo © Next Selection.

In addition all the other things he's good at, Leslie was something of an over-achiever scholastically, as well. In 1998, at the still-tender age of 19, he graduated from Harvard University -- yes, that Harvard -- with a degree in government, and concentrations in macro-economics and political science. He was also the Orator for the graduating class, and encouraged his classmates to follow their dreams.
"I come from very humble beginnings," he said. "It's all about doing something that inspires people.

Humble Beginnings

Leslie grew up a Salvation Army brat and lived in cities all across the US -- Atlanta, Nashville and San Francisco, among others -- and even spent time in Belgium. However, he's settled in, for at least for the immediate future, in the Harlem area of New York.
"I chose to live in Harlem because I'm trying to bring a musical renaissance back to Harlem. I literally am," he said, displaying the bravado and confidence that's brought him so far this early in life.

His Own Music

As for his own recording career Leslie, who's affectionately referred to as R-Les by his fans, says that he's "always working on an album of my own. Just doing everything organically." Meaning, he's taking his time and allowing things to come together naturally, rather than rush the project. A few songs can be heard on his MySpace page. One features the rapper Fabolous and another track, "Just Right," featuring Snoop Dogg, will soon be streamed right here on About.com's R&B site.

Undiscovered, Unheralded Talent

Even though he's worked with the likes of Beyonce, Britney Spears, Donell Jones, and many more, Leslie says he's more excited about all the new, undiscovered talent out there.
"Every artist (he's so far worked with) has brought something new to the table. I respect all the current stars. But the one I'm most excited about is Cassie."
Who has he been most impressed by?
"Some of the most interesting people I've had a chance to meet are actually outside the music industry. People who are real go-getters."

Diverse Musical Tastes

His production talents have blessed artists of various musical genres, including pop, R&B, dancehall and even gospel. And while in college he even sang four-part harmony with a jazz group.
So, as you might expect, when asked about what type of music he prefers -- either personally or professionally -- Leslie said he's open-minded.
"I don't have a genre-specific favorite. I like music that inspires, and inspires me. I like pop, because it's popular he said. But a number of things fall under pop, whether it's Maroon 5, whether it's Britney Spears, or whether it's Cassie."

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