07/24/2012 04:06 pm ET Updated Feb 02, 2016

Diamond Dreams in the City

From a very young age I was performing professionally. I was enrolled at the famed School for Creative and Performing Arts in Cincinnati, where such alum as Sarah Jessica Parker, Carmen Electra and Nick Lachey attended, and which was the model for the television show FAME. My life was all about early mornings of rehearsal, all-day classes and continued rehearsals and performances into the late night. It was rigorous and gave me a tough skin. Little did I realize that this would be the training ground that would give me the professional skills as a performer, as well as the personal determination to bring to me NYC and stay in the game. My main focus was theater, which eventually led to music and some film & TV.

My work took me to all the major cities around the United States and every small town in between. I got the opportunity to work and tour in Europe. I remember spending time in LA and other cities but never quite felt as connected as when I first came to New York City to audition for a national touring company of The Sound of Music. I remember the shadows the buildings cast -- the smell, the chaotic pace and most of all the indescribable energy that the city gives you. It's like you put your finger in an electrical socket and you feel alive! From that moment on there was never a question in my mind what my next step would be. Six days after my high school graduation, my father drove me in our yellow station wagon from the suburbs of Cincinnati to the corner of 75th & Broadway. He gave me the look that only my father could give me and said, "I know you will do well."

Growing up in Ohio, I always had dreams of leaving the world that I never really truly felt that I belonged. It's hard to describe why I never really felt Ohio was where I was meant to be, but in my heart I knew that I was meant to grow somewhere else. I wouldn't be able to offer much there. Looking back, it was a good place to be raised. Americana in every sense of the word. But, I dreamed of something else -- something more. I dreamed of finding my own way and experiencing whatever life would bring. I'm often asked how I found the courage to come to New York City by myself and not know a soul. The only answer that I can find is that "it was home." I felt safe in some odd way in the vastness of the concrete jungle. It never daunted me, but actually inspired me. I never left.

When I think about my journey coming to this city as a boy and growing into the man that I am today, it can often seem like the blink of an eye. I was so curious on what was available to me in every way. My first week in the city, I went to The Limelight alone. It was no accident that I went there. I was mesmerized by the glamour, the club kids and, of course, the thousands of men assembled under one roof. It felt dangerous and I loved it. I remember sitting on the stage alone watching beautiful men dancing with each other, gorgeous girls tagging along and feeling a sense of community that I had never experienced before -- all brought together by the music. I knew someday I would be apart of it; I just wasn't sure how it would begin.

Everything begins with an idea. I find that my Diamond Dreams are constantly evolving. I came to New York City because I knew in my heart that it was a place of opportunity. I have lived "many lives" on the journey of growing from a boy to a man being in New York City. I dream of something bigger than I could ever dream for myself. Music is my passion and how I express myself. I want to be able to share this with the world and aim to reach as many people as I can with my message and story by performing onstage until I'm not able to anymore. I dream that I will never settle for what I know in my heart to be true and right even if there are sacrifices to stay there. That is my Diamond Dream.

Aiden Leslie's latest single, "Diamond Dreams," and music video will released worldwide on August 7th. Visit:, and