Ryan Leslie Channels Michael Jackson, Prince At Free Show

By Selina Kaye

Last night I went to a special secret show — announced via Twitter — for R&B singer/songwriter/producer Ryan Leslie at the Diesel store on 5th Avenue in New York City. The makeshift venue was filled with mostly female fans buzzing about Leslie’s gratis concert, which was designed to showcase his two new singles from his new album Transition, which drops in September.

Before his performance he talked about three artists that influence his career the most: Prince, Stevie Wonder and Michael Jackson. “Prince is the total package,” he told me. “Stevie as well. Their full talent really ranges across the spectrum of singing, songwriting and producing.”

He would have made his idols proud, as he gave electrifying performances of “You’re Not My Girl” and “Something That I Like.” His manic stage presence made it difficult for the adoring audience members to snap pictures, but they hung on to his every kick, twitch and flex regardless. Leslie — best known for writing and producing for the likes of Beyoncé, Danity Kane, Cassie and JoJo — did his heroes proud.