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Just coming off of performing at Long Island Pride, the talented and handsome pop Billboard recording artist Aiden Leslie is about to embark on two special Pride events this weekend for New York City Pride.

On Saturday June 27 at 6 p.m. Aiden will be performing at a benefit for “Live Out Loud,” a group that empowers LGBTQ youth to have successful lives by connecting them to positive role models. This will take place at the waterfront home of Bruce T. Sloane, 21 Bay Lane, East Hampton, New York.

Leslie will also take part in the Pride parade on Sunday on the Global Groove Entertainment/Citrusonic Music float, an event he is extremely excited about.

Talking to the soft-spoken pop artist can only be described as enchanting. He was genuine and spoke from his heart with passion.

How was Long Island Pride?
It was great! Were you there?

I was.
Did you see the show?

Just some of it, but unfortunately not you.
Did you have fun?

I did. I do it every year.
It was very nice. It was a great experience.

Did you like Aunt Barbara?
I did. Is she like the big deal out in Long Island?

She probably makes more money than anyone on Long Island with her Tupperware. I’ve known her a long time. I love her. Everyone out here on LI knows her.

I got that feeling.

You have the most fantastic voice I’ve ever heard.
Thank you! Very nice of you to say.

And I even like your songs.
That’s even better.

So tell me what’s happening for you at New York Pride.
Well, I am going to be on the float for Global Grooves Entertainment/Citrusonic Los Angeles.  They are doing a partnership float. It’s my record label. One of my remixers is Mike Rizzo.  He remixed “I Just Go.”

Fun.
It’s going to be so cool, because I’ve never been on a float in New York Pride. So it’s a first for me. I’m so excited. It’s going to be like a bucket list thing. DJ Hex Hector is going to be the DJ. So it’s going to be fun.

You also have this new song, “I Just Go.” Will you be touring to support it?

We’re going to be announcing some shows in the next couple of weeks. It’s going to be a nice, busy summer. I performed for The Trevor Project a few weeks ago, their spring gala. Then Pride weekend, when this issue comes out, I’m going to be performing at Live Out Loud Pride in the Hamptons 2015 Benefit. So I am really excited about this organization. I’ve just started to work with them. What they are doing is really important for LGBTQ teens, helping them to live their most authentic life. The work that they are doing is really important and vital. They have been around for about 14 years, and their programs offer teens a lot of encouragement. I think right now it’s even more important. We get going with equality and equal rights, and the Supreme Court’s decision is coming up. It’s such an important decision. It’s an incredible time now in the LGBTQ community. It re- ally is.. It’s so unbelievable to see the change in just a few years. I’ve been involved with other organizations before, but I have to tell you that with this organization I really feel connected. I just know when I was a kid…I can think back to what that was like and how different of a world it was. For people to have an LGBT role model and share their stories and their successes can really change the trajectory of a young life. It really can! It’s kind of thrilling to talk about that, to get involved with these kids’ lives. I was at their gala in April here in New York. They offered these scholarships to these young kids right out of high school, and just to see their joy and the hope on these kid’s faces. It’s really inspiring. I’m really happy to be a part of it, and I’m grateful and honored to be able to perform. Then the next day is the Pride float.  So it’s going to be a great weekend.

Yes, Get Out! is covering Pride this year.
This is such a great New York Magazine. Get Out was my first NYC Cover a few years ago, so it always has a special place in my heart!

Well, you’ve got it going: the look, the sound…all of it, and you’re gay, so that makes it more fun.
Thank you so much! Very nice of you. It’s important to keep moving. The remixes for “I Just Go” just charted on Billboard so this makes me happy.

Congrats. That’s so exciting.
It’s a big deal, because we’re moving along. I have a good team. You gotta just keep working I guess. This is a tough business, as you know. You’ve seen a lot of people come and go. Talent is great, and a lot of people have talent, but I think you need more than that.You need something deep down inside of you, to push you to keep going. I always tell people that. My advice is that you have to stay in the game.

With all these free downloads, how do you guys make money?
Well, it’s hard. Well, most people, even the big, big artists, even the major artists, are not even making money. You do a song, and you kind of just assume that it’s very rare that you’re going to make any cash off the song, unless you get it licensed for a commercial or something in advertising. That’s where you make your money. And you really make your money through other avenues, like performing. You have to be really crafty in today’s world in the music business to make it happen for yourself. It’s all about the touring. I was having a discussion the other day about Madonna. When you get to that point, it’s not about the money. It’s about staying out there, staying relevant, enjoying what you love to do as an artist. That’s how you get started.

But with all due respect, you’re not Madonna.
Exactly, that’s my point. Like all this hype with Iggy Azalea, how she keeps postponing her tour, and how they’re trying to get five or six acts together supporting one tour. To even get people to pay $30 for a ticket, that’s hard. At the end of the day, my point is, you have to really ask yourself why are you doing it, and what do you expect from it. If you’re going to do a song or an album, you really have to love it and do what you wanna do. Most people are gonna listen to it for 15 seconds and then be done with it and onto the next thing.You have to own it as an artist and really love it, and understand the reasons why you do it. That’s why a lot of people get burnt out. It’s tough, really, really tough.

But you love it, I can tell.
I do love it. I appreciate that.

Aiden, do you get to sing on that float?
We’re gonna be doing stuff, yeah. I think so. If not, we’ll be jamming to it. It’s going to be such an experience.

You’re going to have a blast. Is there anything that you would like to promote?
I feel like this partnership with Live Out Loud is really a new thing to talk about. It’s something that has just come up. I just started to talk to you and a couple of other people about it. So this is like a new thing to talk about, and I really want to get the message out about this organization. I think it’s really important. It’s www.liveoutloud.info
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Eileen Shapiro
Best selling author of "The Star Trek Medical Reference Manual", and feature celebrity correspondent for Get Out Magazine, Louder Than War, and Huffington Post contributor, I've interviewed artists from Adam Ant, Cyndi Lauper, and Annie Lennox to Jennifer Hudson, Rick Springfield, LeAnn Rimes, and thousands in between. My interviews challenge the threat of imagination....

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