Thanks to technology—namely Auto-Tune—it seems like every R&B producer is now also an “artist.” But Ryan Leslie, a former Harvard prodigy (entered at 15, graduated at 19), sings just fine without vocal-processing software. He’s also an adept musician whose sound beds are built primarily from his own analog instrumentation. Leslie’s work trades in what you might call retro-future soul. His songs are sleek, forward-looking, synth-driven productions; vocally, however, Leslie’s presentation evokes the dignified showmanship of the Motown era.
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