Ryan Leslie is here for a recording session (and our interview). And though the 30-year-old singer and producer won't leave this room for eight hours (today he's working on songs for Jennifer Lopez), he's in the middle of a show. “When this thing is on, which it always is, I'm on stage." The "thing" Leslie is referring to is a video camera -- Leslie films his every waking moment. The edited footage is posted on YouTube, where you can see him crafting all the tracks that will appear on his forthcoming debut self-titled LP, due out in February.
Leslie's inexhaustible energy has always needed big outlets. He went to Harvard at age 15 after scoring a 1600 on the SATs. While studying, he also taught himself music production. After graduation, he discovered and steered the career of Cassie, and the women and breakups that ensued fuel most of his new album. Take "I.R.I.N.A," a song Leslie says is about post-breakup depression. The "Irina" of that song is model Irina Sheik, just one of several models Leslie's been linked to. But he bristles at the idea of filming these much-filmed women: "Oh ... no!" He smiles. "We don't film after the date is over."
Here is what the writer had to say about him after meeting him for their interview.
"I talked to Ryan Leslie for Paper Magazine. I met him at a studio while he was working on tracks for Jennifer Lopez. His shoes were nice. He insists on dressing up to record in a studio, which I think is really funny."