Ryan Leslie, sitting in the courtyard of a warehouse in the west side of Manhattan one recent evening, is as relaxed as he could be. It’s a seasonably warm night, and he’s got dark glasses on, which shield his eyes from the studio light shining on the several bottles of Don Julio, and a margarita someone brought over to him. It was just 45 minutes before he was slated to perform songs for an audience from his new album, Black Mozart. It went untouched.
For his most loyal fans, this Ryan — laughing, smiling, reflective — is a most welcome sight. He claimed that his laptop was stolen, and wound up offering a $1 million reward for its return. A mechanic returned the laptop, but Leslie said that he couldn’t retrieve the intellectual property he’d recorded, property that was was contingent on issuance of the reward. Of course, a Manhattan federal court thought differently .
Fresh off his tour, we talked to Ryan about the controversy, his new project and how his transition to becoming an independent artist has affected his business.
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