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Ryan Leslie Splits From Universal to Create Indie Music

Ryan Leslie officially split from his label, Universal Records, last month and now the 31-year-old singer/songwriter and producer says that he’s ready to create new music on a grassroots level.

During a performance at New York City’s Bowery Ballroom on Wednesday night (June 23), Leslie prefaced his song ‘Guardian Angel,’ by telling the crowd, “I’ve always wanted to play these songs but I couldn’t before,” referencing his relationship with Universal. “I always felt like this song should be a single.”

Leslie explained to Billboard that cutting out early on his four-album deal with Universal will finally allow him to create music on his own terms. “Universal was interested in reshaping my deal to more of a 360, and they actually made a counter-offer from the initial record fund,” Leslie said. “At that point I saw that as a window to potentially branch off and try something that was going to be new and dynamic.”

In the upcoming year, Leslie also plans to make a few changes in his career, one of which will add more touring to his schedule. “In 2011, I really, really want to do Coachella and Bonnaroo and it seems like for those venues it’s usually pretty skewed [for R&B performers.] I think it would be rare if we saw Trey Songz or someone who is considered ‘R&B’ to be at one of those festivals,” he told Billboard. “I think that’s something that I’d like to change and I think that the energy of my shows is much more aligned to that type of festival than sort of the choreographed dance of [say] an Usher show.”

Leslie’s third album ‘Les is More,’ has not been pegged with a release date as yet.

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