Hypetrak: Ryan Leslie – Artistry Fulfilled Interview

In his career, Ryan Leslie has seen all facets of the music industry. Facing the modern complications of the game, the internet-savvy artist is seeking to offer innovative approaches music with his new album, Les is More. The album is set to be driven completely by visual content, with each song being introduced in two parts. A concept that certainly deserves proper explanation. Thus, our sister site, Hypetrak.com, sat down with the famed singer-producer and talked about this ambitious project and more.

Read some excerpts below and find the entire conversation here.

You have dedicated lots of time and passion to your new album Les is More. The LP is set to be driven completely by visual content. Could you outline this concept a little bit more in detail for us?
We are in a special time of technology right now. And being in that special time of technology means for us artists, the opportunity to express ourselves on several different levels – beyond just music. So the visual album is an example of the way that an artist can expand his expression. I have been inspired by so many different places in this world, so many experiences, so many different people. I have been capturing all of this since 2005. I wanted to do something that was an extension of this practice. That meant that I could write music in different cities around the world and also shoot videos while I was visiting these cities. Thus, the spirit and the essence of all these different places have been captured in a special way. So this is what the album is basically about. You are not only able to hear the music, but you are also enabled to witness the musical process in a variety of studio videos. In addition, you will also be able to see the point of inspiration that I have while I’m in the studio. Every time I’m working, I can actually see the video as I am creating it. So this project is all about challenging myself as an artist to more than just the music, producing, writing, arranging, performing, but also to achieve the visual dream that I had in my head. So “Beautiful Lie” was just the first installment. There are more records that will be released in the course of the next few months. You will be able to see how the records were made and a music video for every song.

How did you approach the visual aesthetics of every song?
Personal perception and the direct inspiration lay down the basic theme for the visuals. We have “Beautiful Lie” which is set in Paris, we have “Dress to Undress” which is set on a vacation between Paris and Milan – two of my favorite cities. We also have “Swiss Franks” which is inspired by Zurich and the amazing architecture of Switzerland. In this video, you see me playing a huge pipe organ and performing the song with a cathedral right behind me on the streets of Zurich. Very inspiring to say the least. There is also “5 Minute Freshen Up” which is set in Miami and conveys the city’s unique vibe and much more. I am very very excited about being able to be unrestricted in expressing myself with this album. Being independent offers me so much freedom. I am really excited to see the response.

What to Read Next

RISK @ Art Basel Miami 2011
Celato Storage by De Castelli
Bricksworth 2011 Fall/Winter Lookbook
Karl: Karl Lagerfeld's New Line on NET-A-PORTER
Converse 2011 Holiday Chuck Taylor All Star Ox Coated Canvas