Singer and songwriter Frank Ocean name has been in the media ever since confirming his bisexuality this past summer. His Channel Orange album also topped the charts. When you’re in the public eyes, it is so hard to live your private life. I respect any man who is comfortable enough in his own skin to share his sexual and personal life with the general public. Ocean is currently working on projects with Alicia Keys and Beyoncé. He is also gearing up to embark on an European tour. The Def Jam signer is featured in the latest issue of GQ Magazine. Inside, he speaks on his past issues with his record label, moving from New Orleans to L.A., crying after confirming his bisexuality and much more. Below are some excerpts:
On moving from New Orleans to L.A. with just $1,100 in his pocket:
I had been putting together these demos that I was going to properly record in a real studio in L.A. So I saved up money doing Sheetrocking, and I drove out with my girlfriend at the time. I was only supposed to be there for six weeks. I don’t feel like I ever made a conscious decision to stay six years. You just kind of roll. The first four and a half years was me in the studio every day, writing songs for other people.
On how he started writing songs for Brandy, Justin Bieber and John Legend:
We’re talking about hundreds of things that happened. One night, I went to a listening party just to pick up my backpack from a friend. Next thing I know, I’m in this studio, and everybody’s putting their laptops on the pool table, playing songs through these big-ass speakers. It was crazy. And they wanted me to play, so I plugged in, and they were like, “Oh shit.” There were producers there, and they said, “You should come up to the studio and write.” So I did. I’d sit in those rooms for hours.
On Def Jam reportedly signed him as a recording artist in 2009 but didn’t open up its checkbook at that point to help him record and meeting Odd Future:
I was at a real dark time in my life when I met them. I was looking for just a reprieve. At 20 or 21, I had, I think, a couple hundred thousand dollars [from producing and songwriting], a nice car, a Beverly Hills apartment—and I was miserable. Because of the relationship in part and the heartbreak in part, and also just miserable because of like just carting that around. And here was this group of like-minded individuals whose irreverence made me revere. The do-it-yourself mentality of OF really rubbed off on me.
They inspired you to record your first album, Nostalgia, Ultra, on your own dime and release it for free, right? Def Jam had signed Lonny Breaux, then this Frank Ocean guy puts out an Internet sensation that makes a lot of best-albums lists. When they tried to sign you again, was it satisfying to say,“Oh, you already have”?
Yeah, I just told them, “Give me $1 million if you want the next album.”
Source GQ | Pictures Peggy Sirota
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NEXT PAGE: MORE EXCERPTS FROM FRANK OCEAN’S INTERVIEW WITH GQ