The Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts has announced that producer, songwriter and performer Ryan Leslie has been named its first Artist in Residence. The appointment, which begins immediately, is for the 2011-12 academic year and supports and enhances the emphasis the Recorded Music Institute places on teaching students the skills of creative entrepreneurship for the music industry.
“Ryan Leslie is the epitome of the creative entrepreneur and the holistic attitude we believe so firmly in at the Clive Davis Institute,” said Jeffrey Rabhan, chair of The Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music. “His entire professional career has been a perfect balance between artistry and business acumen. We think someone of Ryan Leslie’s intelligence, talent, and entrepreneurial savvy will add a dynamic new dimension to the Institute and we’re excited to have him join the program.”
The Artist-in-Residence provides students with direct access to one of the music industry’s most successful entrepreneurs, filling the program’s experiential education mandate. In this role, the Artist-in-Residence will guide students through a variety of portals, including one-on-one sessions, group lectures, songwriting critiques, and mentoring.
Born in 1978, Leslie began making music as a teenager after teaching himself to play the piano. When he was 14, he scored a perfect 1600 on his SATs and eventually enrolled at Harvard, graduating at the age of 19 with a degree in Government. By 2003, he established a foothold in the music industry and later that year also produced a debut album, entitled Just Right. While never released, the album did produce two singles: The Way That U Move Girl and Used 2 Be. By the end of 2005, he wrote and/or produced tracks for Beyoncé, Britney Spears, and New Edition. In 2006, he wrote and produced the singer Cassie's Me&U album, a number one R&B single that also reached number three on the Billboard Hot 100. Cassie's subsequent album, produced almost entirely by Leslie, narrowly missed the top of both the Billboard 200 and R&B/hip-hop albums charts.
Leslie went back to the studio to record another debut album and the lead single, Diamond Girl, was released as a single. The successive singles Addiction and How It Was Supposed to Be also set the stage for his self-titled album, which was finally released in February 2009. Nine months later, Leslie followed up his debut album with the Grammy-nominated album Transition, inspired by a secret summertime fling. Currently preparing his new body of work, a rap album entitled Les Is More, he has also found time to produce and guest appear on records with Kanye West, Lloyd Banks, Fabolous, and Rick Ross.
The Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music is the first of its kind to provide professional business and artistic training toward a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. The undergraduate program is designed to provide professional training for students who aspire to succeed as creative entrepreneurs in the music industry. Since it opened its doors in 2003, the program has been a leader in training aspiring music entrepreneurs. It has been on the cutting edge of music education, offering innovative courses like “The History of Def Jam,” “Emerging Music Trends,” and “Branding.” The program bears the name of its chief patron and advisor, Clive Davis.