Ryan Leslie Bares “Transition” Album at NYC Listening Session [Exclusive]
New York, N.Y. -- As the autumn changed into its own breezy Manhattan weather, industry insiders gathered at New York's Chung King Studios to get the taste of Ryan Leslie's forthcoming sophomore set (due out November, 3). The singer/songwriter/producer kicked off the Oct. 8 listening session by introducing attendees to a 14-year-old version of himself via video, rapping onstage before having made the Transition to R&B superstardom. Leslie effortlessly delved into his love of music, passion and a particular woman, to whom he has dedicated the entire album.
1) "Never Gonna Break Up" is a soulful track that showcases Leslie‘s raw emotion from jump street, "Never Gonna Break Up" represents the relationship that a man hopes to solidify with his significant other following a bad breakup. “When I made that record, I was so overzealous. When you make an album you feel like everything is a single. That’s the way this album starts out, a transition from something else and seeing the start of something new. There I was, I wasn’t even one song into the album and I’m already making a video for it.”
2) "Something That I Like" feat. Pusha T - R-Les has journeyed through the music game as a singer, and wanted to transition forward into professionally emceeing. “I’ve always been on songs with rappers, whether it’s been with Jadakiss, Jim Jones, Fabolous or Corey Gunz, but I’ve been there as a singer. It would be nice if people could also respect me as a rapper and my credibility would not be compromised.” Leslie told the story of how he contributed a verse to the track before the un-mixed audio was removed and Pusha’s verse was added.
3) "Zodiac" is an instrumental phenomenon that Leslie emoted live and directed minimalistically with a keyboard, his vocals and pure stage presence. With bass strumming, keys and flirtatious “what’s your sign?” footsie game-playing, this track has single capabilities, and can stretch abroad many summers for tons of fun.
4) "Is It Real Love," a vibrant stray from the normal brand of R&B songs, identifies R-Les as more than the producer, more than the singer, and perhaps a potential Renaissance musician. The track, which begs, “could you be the one that I’ve been waiting on,” becomes something that Leslie can declare, and the question, "Is It Real Love," ceases to exist, as the composition proves it to be true.
5) "Sunday Night" came about after an attempted night out for dinner with R-Les’ special someone went awry. Sometimes, it’s the little things that count, after all. “Spending Sunday night with my baby,” is the quintessential way to kick it at home on the last evening of the weekend, according to Leslie.
6) "You’re Not My Girl" is pretty much what it sounds like. “You could call my phone, you could swing over my way; on your nights alone, you could come over my place…just remember that you’re not my girl.” With a jazzy feel, the glitz of the indiscretion makes the song a bit unbalanced, but all in all, the sound is great, and the idea is very naughty.
7) "To The Top" is acknowledged by R-Les as “thick and syrupy.” Reminiscent of a bluesy juke joint, this track makes present the essence of southern flavor and misbehavior. Leslie provides the flavor, all you need is the candles and the clouds, so he can take you “to the top and promise you will never come down from [your] cloud.”
8) "Nothing" is a straight-to-the-point ode to the solid and tried-and-true relationship. “Without you, I’d be nothing.” Hard-hitting percussion when combined with soft strings is incomparable.
9) "Guardian Angel" serves as the track which describes the woman that watched over him during his transition, and vice versa. Because he wasn’t looking for anyone to cure his “lonelies,” but found someone to open his doors, he and she can now look after one another. The bass guitar-laden track showcases Leslie's expanded musical range, as well as his his trust in his woman and in love.
10) "All My Love" is an articulate and melodic uptempo lullaby verbalizing trust. Leslie’s lovely lady had mentioned that she had lacked trust, and her lack of assurance prompted him to write the ballad as a testament that he would give her all of his love always and forever.
11) "I Choose You" brings the album to a close nicely as a transition that R-Les has gone through as an artist and as a person. The album is about love, development, evolution and growth. Leslie chooses all of these things for himself in the end, and the song is an appropriate one to end off with.