with special guests
Anthony Ryan Leslie (born September 25, 1978, in Washington, D.C.) is an American singer, record producer, multi-instrumentalist and rapper. Founder of the multi-media company NextSelection Lifestyle Group, Leslie has produced hit singles for a number of artists including Cassie, Keri Hilson and Fabolous. In 2003 he started recording his debut album, Just Right, but it was shelved after differences between him and his record label. He then returned to the studio in 2009 and recorded his self-titled debut, and followed it up later that year with his second studio album, Transition.
Like most aspiring producer/songwriter/singers, Ryan Leslie started out making his own records as a teen because he couldn’t afford to pay for studio time or producers when he wanted to record his demo. Counting self-contained producer/artists like Stevie Wonder and Prince as his heroes, it’s been a long ride from being a 19-year-old senior in college who had no music contacts - to overseeing studio sessions with the likes of Diddy, Usher, Britney Spears, and many other of today’s top stars.
The road was not easy, as anyone who has tried to make it in music would understand. When he graduated from Harvard in 1998, Ryan started out selling beats for $200 to anyone who would buy - a questionable career move for an ivy-league graduate. He stayed in the Boston area for a while, taking on a community service job to make ends meet, and spending his nights in the recording studio. Eventually, in the summer of 2000, he linked with a young artist named Corey “Latif” Williams, and he produced a song that won a contest sponsored by Teen People magazine, earning them a performance at the famed Apollo theatre in Harlem.
A few months later, in 2001, the two had generated enough buzz as a producer/artist duo to score Latif a record deal with Motown. Though initial excitement in the project was strong, the album they made together in thirty days took two years to get released. In the meantime, Ryan returned to a suburb of Boston and began to experiment with making his own records again.