Recap: Ryan Leslie at New York's Bowery Ballroom

Photo by Helen Marie

The Bowery Ballroom opened its doors last Tuesday for a special 2-day experience of Ryan Leslie. Coming to the stage in black jeans, leather vest, denim shirt and black shades to match, Ryan was in character and ready to play. He went from hip-hop to R&B then switching it up with a few ballad selections. Ryan Leslie has no problem busting through genre boxes one might attempt to lock his music into. His creativity and genius are the product of his dedication—his Harvard degree in music are proof enough. Below is a short recap of six songs from last week's performance.


Ryan Leslie opened up with a rap song entitled “My Glory” breaking down the end of his contract with former label Motown and the birth of his new pursuit of happiness—Les Is More the tongue and cheek title of his forthcoming album.

The entire audience chimes in, supporting Ryan's vocals to this instant hit we were introduced to on his self-titled album. Having found success producing songs for Cassie, Fabolous and Jim Jones he's still finding his place with mainstream success. Tear a page from the blueprint of smart producer-artists (*cough* Kanye): save the best beats for yourself.

Several times throughout the show Ryan effortlessly gets on the keys and joins his 5-piece band. His live version "Diamond Girl" called for his nimble crescendo to treat us to the compliment he's most known for: You're my diamond girl/you're the one I put the rock on. G-Unit may have made it hot line too, but Ryan first made it a hot song.

When the first few notes of “Addiction” began to play, the room turned into gaggle of Cassies yelling out the chorous in unison. No shaved heads for miles though.

“Gibberish” is one of my favorites. This a song that has no words or sentences, only soft utterances that incite you to create your own lyrics. Story is, Ryan being a successful songwriter, he can walk a listener through the process of putting pen to paper (or thoughts to SmartPhone). He dedicated "Gibberish" to giving you the virtual tour from creating the idea concept of a song which sometimes begins with nonsensical stuff just to drive the melody. And, pig latin doesn't count.

“Guardian Angel” was a beautiful song exclaiming the perfection found in his lover. He goes on to show much she means to him and once again blesses the keys with a passion that is relentless yet oh so vulnerable.

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Recap: Ryan Leslie at New York's Bowery Ballroom