18 December 2013

Grammy Nominee Ryan Leslie gives back to African Youth

Grammy Nominee Ryan Leslie gives back to African Youth

Grammy Nominee Ryan Leslie gives back to African Youth

Ryan Leslie is not your typical musician. An artist with a business mind and a deep entrepreneurial drive, his career approach has been anything but traditional. Leslie’s newest venture, however, is one of the most rewarding to date: he has teamed up with Live From The Republic, an organization which is launching an annual concert series that donates a portion of the proceeds back to the host nation. In the early stages of their partnership, LFTR offered Ryan the opportunity to travel to West Africa to meet the First Lady of Ivory Coast. Upon his return, he made it his mission to perform for the children that he met through her nonprofit foundation. Now, LFTR and Ryan are organizing his concert in Ivory Coast for the spring of 2014. They have already sold tour merchandise via an Indiegogo campaign and hosted a benefit concert in Washington DC to raise funds. Furthermore, with the help of a charitable donation from Coca Cola in the Ivory Coast, they have managed to raise enough money to be able to deliver one million dollars worth of medical supplies to Ivorian hospitals when Ryan performs there this spring.

These types of socially conscious ventures are what LFTR believe are the key to charitable work in regions of Africa. It is made possible by what the organization hopes to be a cycle of reinvestment - the country hosts the concert, and a percentage of the funds raised from sponsors are invested right back into the community. In this year's case, they are using the funds to gather medical supplies that are discarded due to cosmetic damage, over-production and strict U.S. regulations.  Much of this material is unused and still perfectly viable and effective. In a country like Ivory Coast where one doctor can treat as many as 50,000 patients and hospitals are equipped to treat on average just 80 patients, the supplies can go a long way. But because these perfectly usable goods are deemed outdated by US regulators, manufacturers are able to offer deep discounts, meaning monetary donations actually double and triple in value once the supply orders are placed. As of now, six containers, each holding more than $150-175k worth of supplies are scheduled to be delivered early next year.

For Leslie, this year has been especially monumental. Aside from his work with LFTR, he has been recording and performing the world over. He has just wrapped a 30 city trek across Europe, Africa and the UAE in support of his newest album, Black Mozart, which will have its worldwide release March 2014 through a proprietary direct-to-consumer platform. His concept of scalable one-to-one interaction using advanced technology has landed him in the role of consultant to colleagues like Talib Kweli, Fabolous and Nipsey Hussle, whose "proud-2pay" campaign attracted national headlines when Jay-Z bought 100 copies of his $100 mixtape. Asked to speak about the disruptive concept, which allows artists to truly own the relationship with their supporters (a relationship largely owned by digital retailers like iTunes and Amazon), Leslie has found himself in front of some pretty prestigious audiences, from the Wharton School of Business to Germany’s WHU IdeaLab, where he shared a stage with the CEO of Deutsche Telekom, RenĂ© Obermann.

Born in 1978, Ryan Leslie began making music as a teenager after teaching himself to play the piano. At age 14, Ryan scored a perfect 1600 on his SAT's and eventually enrolled at Harvard University, graduating at the age of 19 with a degree in Government. Following graduation, Ryan focused solely on music, determined to make it in the industry. By 2003, Leslie was on track and in the years since, he has produced music for the likes of Madonna, Kanye West, Alicia Keys, Beyonce, Fabolous, Britney Spears, Mary J. Blige, Snoop Dogg and Rick Ross to name a few. As a solo artist, Leslie has released 4 albums with the second one, “Transition” being nominated for a Grammy Award for “Best Contemporary RandB Album.” When not communicating with his fans, Mr. Leslie is busy touring the world, speaking at colleges and conferences, and acting as NYU’s “Artist in Residence” for the Clive Davis School of Music.

For more information and to get involved, please visit:

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