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True story:

Four years ago I heard a song called “Diamond Girl,” and instantly became hooked on a singer/songwriter named Ryan Leslie. I bought his self-titled debut album and loved it, and that same year I bought his second album, Transition, which was even better. I waited patiently as Leslie walked away from a major record deal and dedicated himself to releasing independent music. Eventually, Les Is More was released in 2012, and I included it in my year-end list of top albums.

A few months ago, Ryan Leslie announced the formation of an online fan club known as #RENEGADES, which requires a $12.00 fee to join. Perhaps prematurely, I became quite upset at the concept of such a fan club and the fact that I was being asked to pay $12.00 to be a “true” fan, when I considered myself to be one already. Furthermore, the album that was originally to be released in April, Black Mozart, still did not have a set release date. Essentially, I was under the impression that Ryan Leslie was asking me to give him $12.00 for nothing.

Like any rational person, I took to Twitter to vent my frustrations. Here’s where things got interesting.

After tweeting at Ryan Leslie and voicing my irritation, I received a twitter message from Leslie himself telling me that I had misunderstood the point of #RENEGADES and that I should give him a call (he provided a phone number).  The number I dialed directed me to a google voicemail. Not expecting anything to come of it, I left a voice message telling Ryan Leslie that I was disappointed in the #RENEGADES fan club and that I felt somewhat betrayed. Then Leslie called back….

His unique articulation was immediately identifiable, and I could tell whom I was speaking with before he announced that he was Ryan Leslie. He had called to explain what the #RENEGADES fan club was all about, and that he designed it to better identify true fans like myself. Staying as calm as I could, I voiced my concern with the $12.00 price tag. He seemed to understand my frustration, but promised that his next album, Black Mozart, would be released in mid-August, and that I wouldn’t even have to ask for it. “We’re just going to send it to you when it’s ready,” he explained.

We talked for about 15 minutes, discussing various topics of the industry; iTunes contracts, Prince, Jay-Z, the changing state of music. What struck me the most was that this wasn’t some quick courtesy call. It wasn’t an automated voice message. It wasn’t a brief, “Hey, I called you, now you have to go back to liking me.” He genuinely wanted to talk to me. He wasn’t in any rush to get off the phone. He didn’t have better things to do. The guy wanted to chat with me and make sure that I knew he appreciated my support. 

Why would Ryan Leslie do this?

I’ve got 21 twitter followers. Ryan Leslie has half a million. I have no influence over other Ryan Leslie fans. I can occasionally send out a tweet if I want, but it’s doubtful anyone sees it or cares about it. Why would Ryan Leslie care so much about whether or not I’m upset with him? Why does one fan matter so much? To Leslie, one fan matters a great deal. As I quickly learned, Ryan Leslie cares more about his fan base than any artist I’ve ever been exposed to. That’s why he set up #RENEGADES in the first place. He wants to catalog his fans. He wants to know who is buying albums so he can thank them. He wants to know where his fans are located so he can know where to take his tour. He wants to interact with us, whether it be a phone call or an email. He wants feedback. He wants to know what he’s doing right and what he could improve on.

At first, I was a little upset about $12.00 fee. If it buys me an album in a month and unprecedented access to one of my favorite musicians, I would say it has already been worth it.


 


Comments

07/09/2013 05:42

This post is exactly why a supporter like you is so important to my career.

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Kash
07/09/2013 15:33

You have our support all day everyday. Godspeed!

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Michelangelo
07/09/2013 15:43

Keep doing a good job, makin beats, rapping and singing, much appreciated. been following your youtubes from makin beats from your first website. even study your melody patterns on 112 tracks you laced, amazing, Much respect!

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Chris Alvarez
07/09/2013 15:44

Dang man I never thought of it like that. But man I'm going to have to sign up for this. Your a great artist and a legend in the making. Thanks for everything. Your the best.

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Abdel
07/09/2013 15:46

Okay I totally agree with you 12$ for an album and a membership, where u can see unreleased videos worth it but why people have to pay 100$ for a photo or a handshake? I'm fan since day one, but that is a point I don't understand!

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Following your work for sometime now, even did a report on you as my favorite and most inspirational producer in the industry today. This was a great post and I will be signing up. P.S. When I achieve the same platform status as you, I will look you up and remind you of this blog! Sooner than later of course..lol. Bless up!

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Michael Sanchez
07/09/2013 16:42

Great to read that article, I was kind of feeling the same way! Looking forward to Black Mozart, your show in Detroit was off the hook! I took my wife and she couldn't believe how long you played for, worth every minute!

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01/20/2014 16:58

Dreams really do come true.

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Drew Barragan
04/05/2014 21:35

Hey Ryan, my name is Drew Barragan from San Diego I'm a huge fan. I was wondering if it was just a one time fee or is it like a monthly membership fee to become a renegade thanks

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Drew Barragan
04/05/2014 21:36

Also one more thing. I'm old school and like to still collect the actual cd so will you have the black Mozart album available on cd

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04/10/2014 00:09

The membership is a one time fee and you can redeem for an immediate download of the album. Merchandise is soon to return to the store as well. CDs will have to be obtained at our next shows in your area or nearby.

Abdel
07/09/2013 15:29

Okay I totally agree with you 12$ for an album and a membership, where u can see unreleased videos worth it but why people have to pay 100$ for a photo or a handshake? I'm fan since day one, but that is a point I don't understand!

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Christian Sanders
07/09/2013 15:33

That's awesome how Ryan Leslie appreciates his fans!

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Denis
07/09/2013 15:41

Ryan your are the fucking best musician in the world!!
You are music ! Your Addiction made me addicted !

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07/09/2013 15:45

This is a great story. A couple years ago I remember him giving out his personal number over his website and at one point I had called just to see if it was legitimate and it was. Continues to be an inspiration in my music and is why every opportunity I get to see him live, I go out of my way to attend.

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07/09/2013 15:48

Loved this story! Ryan is truly a pioneer with his passion and flair for the arts. I have a regular 9-5 and own a recording and producing studio as well, but during downtime at work I would watch his Youtube videos and everytime it never fails...I'll be ready to quit and head home to my studio to work...But hey gotta keep my lights on right! Lol Pure inspiration! Thanks Ryan!

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07/09/2013 15:53

i really love is works

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daniel nunez
07/09/2013 15:59

i was a fan way before his career jump started and I can say he's not the same ryan anymore.his old music i will always cherish but his new music don't even listen to it.to me he's just over rated now and days.

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Kay
07/09/2013 16:22

It shows a lot about your character when you can reach out to your fans to show that you appreciate their feedback. Your song "Ups and downs" reminds me of the time when I dated this guy and I first heard your music and fell in love with the guy and your music. .. lol.. but eventually became a moment where I realized I needed to break it off with the guy. Like your song stated. Although the guy is gone your music will always remain in my playlist. I wanted to come to your Chicago Concert but I can't really break away and drive to Chicago because I have two little ones so you need to consider coming to MI. I will also make suggestion as far as the venue... I'm sure all will be more than happy to accomodate you. We have Royal Oak theatre, Opera house, Music hall, The Fox, and Sound board and possibly Chene Park.I hope you realize you have a fan base in the Detroit Metropolitan area and you decide to perform here soon!! In the meantime I encourage you to keep doing what you do with the Spirit of Excellence and continue to walk in humility.

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Anthony Lewis
07/09/2013 16:28

Ive never heard of this fan club. Ive been disappointed by a Ryan Leslie concert in NYC. Waiting for 3 hours and wasnt able to see Ryan Leslie. Being told the concert would start at 8 I left minutes to ten just to find out he performed 5 minutes after I left. Never the less ill still support the fan page if someone can assist me. Still my favorite artist since Michael Jackson.

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07/11/2013 18:03

Anthony, we were disappointed ourselves with that as well. Ryan was anxious to touch the stage but had to wait until 10 after an act I have NO idea who booked and Hit Boy. Ryan didn't even get to finish his set. That is why he PROMISED when he returns to NYC - It will ONLY be RYAN LESLIE. We hope to see you at Webster Hall July 25th - For tickets --> http://tktwb.tw/1afnGqK Thank you! Andre Team Ryan Leslie

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Vusi SA
07/09/2013 16:36

Been a fan since I first heard your music, Ryan u are the best, Your music inspires me, Every beat, every line u drop is just an inspiration to me, keep doin what u r good at, we love u in South Africa

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Umar
07/09/2013 17:06

Like most of my age group early 30s, I grew up listening to Mozart in cartoons, but as I grew older, classic music I had to find/filter and enjoy by myself. Your music I savour and hope would inspire younger generation as Mozart's did to me. So I hope you get all the support you need to do your things in order to be in the right frame of mind for more classics to keep on coming. More bling bling more classics, as my simple mind sees it.

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Sbenz91
07/09/2013 18:51

For this things i think ryan is more than a singer, for me he is the singer, i feel like the men of the post, i be listen ryan since the Ryan leslie cd and his prodctions for cassie or ll cool j, and when i listen his beats i feel things that remember me the true music for the 90 or 80s , his skills in the instruments and his talent take, inspired me so much, im a rap lover and his lyrycs and style in the sing and rappin for me was a innovation he make his music with a big originality and for me is the ONLY real MUSICIAN that i listen in todays music, for me a person who can write, produce, rappin and sing, andd all of this add to a big view in the design of the artistic view of the cds and the videos whit the creation of the music, is only can describe with a word INCREDIBLE.
For my ryan leslie is a refferent is q icon is the form that i think that all the artist should be, for this and because when i see news for a new project of ryan i always wait for that with a high interest, i bought the les is more in preorder the first day was announced i check the website to see the new merchandising once a week , and when the black mozart was announced i obviously feel so happy and i be count the days that left for the release that was announced, and when the day 16 of april arrive and the cd was not on the market , i feel very disagree and i try to know the reasons for the no exit of the cd, but i cant know that, for this when i received the invitation for the RENEGADES fans club i feel like if this was the answer of my questions about this thing, and obviously for my admiration of ryan and for the message that i received with the invitation i added fast to that and i feel so good for my this is one more of the things that prove me that ryan is different for the others, for this things, and the message that this men post here is a confirmation of this, is one of the real reasons because i consider my self a ryan leslie fan, his passion that put in all of he did and do, and because that be a ryan leslie fan is not like be a fan of other artist, is be fan of MUSIC

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07/09/2013 18:56

Thank you, thank you, thank you... For writing an article that speaks of the things I have been trying to explain to SO many for SO many years. I, like many, have been following Ryan since he was posting videos on YouTube and music on MySpace! I have literally witnessed ALL that he has gone through musically and how much he has sacrificed for his craft! Not once has Ryan strayed from what was and IS MOST important... HIS FANS! This is why for as long as I can humanly do so, I will continue to stay as true to Ryan as he is to me.

Proud to be a #RENEGADE

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JazzyJones
07/21/2013 17:51

Exeptional experience being a #Renegades member

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01/20/2014 16:56

What an honor my friend, what an honor.

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jdot
02/04/2014 17:44

Rles dope man hw do I join your fan club im in Zimbabwe and ur music and inspiration has made my production better...#blackmozart is a dope album..

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Andre
02/08/2014 22:46

It's simple! Head to www.RenegadesNYC.com and get the #Renegades Club Membership. Each members gets the digital download free. There is also word that if you attend his events/shows you may be able to get an exclusive limited edition hardcopy CD

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Justin n
02/07/2014 21:06

Nice post I was looking to see if people had any experience with calling or texting him it's good to see that he does respond genuinely
I sent out an email so i'm hoping to hear back

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Andre
02/08/2014 22:48

Justin - be sure to be try again. At times Ryan is out of the country (U.S.) making appearances and preparing for shows as well as responding to thousands of emails a day. He will answer if you are a #Renegades member.

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