Exclusive: Ryan Leslie the Music Man

Blue Note

Ryan Leslie is a Renaissance Man. He plays instruments, composes music, writes lyrics, produces melodies and sings songs of love. Leslie is a man’s man–a real artiste. In an exclusive photo shoot, ESSENCE.COM asked Leslie to channel the Jazz Age and the swagger of John Coltrane, Miles Davis and Frank Sinatra. We captured the creative, romantic and visionary artist inside. Experience Ryan Leslie, the Music Man.

Photographs: Pieter Henket
Styling: Memsor Kamarake
Grooming: Merrell Hollis
Production: Roger Inniss at Boom Productions
Photo Assistant: Greg Aune
Production Assistant: Justin Barton

Tuxedo and shoes by D&G Dolce & Gabbana; V-neck t-shirt by CK Calvin Klein Underwear; scarf by Brooks Brothers


Playing the sax, R. Les for Prez sets the mood.

Bow tie, shirt, vest and pants all by D&G Dolce & Gabbana

Bass in the Place

Leslie is a real musician. An artist who believes in pushing the envelope and experimenting with sound. He balances classic sounds with a variety of beats. RL is reinventing R&B music for modern times.

Shirt, vest and pants all by Polo Ralph Lauren

The Jazz Age

An old soul, Leslie is a through back to the gentleman–smart, confident and charismatic. Making music, movies and movement. Listen to “Transition.”

Bow tie, shirt and suit by Prada; hat by Bailey’s Hat

A Love Supreme

The sound of soul music. Leslie writes from his personal experiences of love and loss. He is not afraid to bare his soul and sing his own song.

Shirt, blazer and pants by Diesel Black Gold; hat by Z Zegna

On the Set

Less is more and Leslie’s second album “Transition” is filled with simplicity, emotion and digital love.

Shirt, tuxedo and boots, all by Diesel Black Gold; hat by Bailey’s Hats

Moody Blues

Leslie feels the vibe and gets inspired by the rhythm and the blues.

Bow tie, shirt and suit by Louis Vuitton

Rhythm of the Night

Fashion like music is about the layers, the feeling and the orchestration. Leslie feels the sound and the swagger.

Tuxedo and shirt by D&G Dolce & Gabbana; bow tie by Brooks Brothers

Soul Brother

Leslie relaxes and feels the groove. His thoughts are heavy and his imagination is vivid. This is what making music and love are all about.

Suit, shirt and tie all by Calvin Klein Collection