“Frank Ocean” was born with the name Christopher “Lonny” Breaux. He was born in Long Beach California and lived there until he was 5. He and his family then moved to New Orleans. He grew up around all of the jazz venues and music while there. He worked around the neighborhood doing chores and saved up money. He used the money to rent time in the studio and attend the University of New Orleans where he enrolled in 2005 and began living in the dorms there.
Later that year Hurricane Katrina hit and the studio where he would record was looted and destroyed by floodwater. He decided to move to Los Angeles to continue with his interest in music. He only planned to stay for about a month and a half but decided to stay longer and record his music and to shop it around. He earned a deal as a songwriter and eventually started writing some songs for Justin Bieber, John Legend, Beyonce and others. He continued networking himself and met the group OFWGKTA in 2009 and became good friends with one of their members, Tyler the Creator”. That friendship helped change his songwriting style. If you know anything about Odd Future you could see why, they have really abstract, crazy, and fast songs that are pretty original. His music took that spin from more of a R&B and alternative style to now also having a hip hop style to it as well.
He legally changed his name to Christopher Francis Ocean (inspired by Frank Sinatra and the movie “Ocean’s 11.”) Christopher Stewart helped him sign a deal with Def Jam records in 2010 which furthered his career, and Chris Stewart eventually wrote one of Ocean’s hit songs, “Novacane.” His relationship with Def Jam was a little Rocky until he released his first mixtape and then things began to firm up after that. Later on in 2011 he first appeared performing with Tyler the Creator at Coachella. In the same year he also began working on a collaborative album with Jay-Z and Kanye West and co-wrote and featured in two songs on the album “Watch the Throne.” These are some impressive accomplishments he achieved before even releasing his first real album. Jay-Z could be the biggest name in hip-hop along with Kanye West they have to be in two of the highest earning and influential artists of their genre.
In the summer of 2012 he released his first album “Channel Orange” after a lot of chatter and excitement about it as a few of the hit songs on that album had been leaked online. Just before he released the album he posted a letter on his Tumblr Blog recounting feelings he had for another young man while he was in LA at the age of 19, saying that it was his first true love. In the letter he thanked the man for his influence and also his mother and friends. The response was generally positive but maybe a little shocking.The album was named Channel Orange, in reference to neurological phenomenon “Grapheme-Color Synesthesia,” alluding to his first time falling in love, as it was summer and he perceived everything to be orange.
Channel orange is described as a mix of electro-funk, pop-soul, jazz-funk, and psychedelic music. I also believe it has plenty of R&B touch. This personally is one of my favorite albums of all time. I think the songs are so great lyrically, along with the amazing instrumentals.
With what we’ve learned in this class his music style stems from a mix of just a little pop which is fairly new trying to attract as many listeners as possible, Jazz and Soul which are actually older and stem from the south and New Orleans era (which makes sense considering where he grew up) and also psychedelic music which would originally come from rock and is now even becoming more and more electric or created with computers. He mentioned Celine Dion, Jimi Hendrix, Pink Floyd, The Beatles, Frank Sinatra and many others as just a few of his icons and inspirations.
More than 4 years after Channel Orange was released Frank released his second studio album, “Blonde.” It was highly anticipated after channel orange being considered one of the best albums of 2012 and receiving many votes of being the best album of that year. Between the releases of the two albums Ocean received many different and respectable recognitions. He was named one of Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in the World. (2013), was listed on Forbes Top 30 Under 30 list in music. (2012), was named one of the Best Songwriters of the 2000’s by VIBE (2012), named as GQ Magazine’s Rookie of The Year(2011). These are just a few recognitions he received after releasing just one studio album. The album blonde seemed a little bit more abstract than Channel Orange but it obvious to tell it’s still ocean. He has so an amazing voice and can hit such high notes which elevates his music to the next level. At the end of the year his album was rated in the top 10 by at least 13 major magazines. Ocean describes himself as a storyteller and with his well written lyrics and powerful voice he able to tell his stories beautifully and interestingly. Frank Ocean is one of my all time favorite artist because of his vocal range and the variety of music he has. He has his own style but can also be an amazing piece to any song in any genre whether he’s with John Mayer, Kanye West, Beyonce, Tyler the Creator, or himself he will deliver strong and interesting lyrics in a unique way. His ability to write, sing, and perform and also to be brave and open about controversial and hard subjects is admirable and inspiring to many. My belief is that he’ll go down as one of the most talented and inspiring artists of our generation without a doubt.
(really none of these sites had author names available but I double and triple checked these facts)