Ryan Leslie Prepares to Turn the Lights On at NYC Shows

Fans of multi-talented singer Ryan Leslie may have to wear sunglasses while attending his show this week at the Bowery Ballroom in New York City. The Harvard grad has been hard at work preparing a light spectacle for the June 22 and June 23 dates.

Ryan remained tight-lipped about what exactly his show would consist of, but he did reveal that special lighting effects would synchronize with tracks he’d perform from previous albums as well as his forthcoming effort, Les Is More. Popular tunes such as “Diamond Girl” and “Addiction” are guaranteed to be heard, yet Ryan’s focus is to suit his listener’s tastes. “I want to honor the requests from all my fans,” he tells Rap-Up.com. “I will perform 15 to 20 most requested songs and pick what sounds best.”

The avid producer plans to showcase a stripped-down version of shows he’s put on in the past. Ryan and his band members’ instrumental talents will play center stage here. The four-piece band accompanying him will command the use of an electric guitar, organ, bass guitar, and a ’70s drum kit, which will introduce concertgoers to a unique hybrid production of high-energy tunes combined with new-school R&B sensibilities.

To open the show, R&B crooner Miguel, who’s noted for his J. Cole-assisted track “All I Want Is You,” will be singing selections from his debut album of the same name. Ryan empathizes with the burgeoning artist. “I’ve been in the game for a long time as a producer but I understand what it’s like to be a new artist,” he says. “When you find a song you’re really excited about, all you want to do is perform it. I want to give [Miguel] this opportunity.”

Fresh off a tour with Ne-Yo, Ryan Leslie recently put on his beat-making hat for the likes of Mary J. Blige and Game, all while focusing on his own solo artist career. “Being in the studio with them is always inspiring because you have someone else who is being creative and cares about their art and wants to make a recording of something that is real,” adds Ryan, who admits he does 120 push-ups as a ritual before hitting the stage.

While he was reticent about which special guests would join him on Tuesday and Wednesday night, Ryan promised the show wouldn’t disappoint. “Audiences should keep an open mind,” he explains. “I can only describe [the sounds at the performance] as classic and honest.”

–Evelyn Kim