Tue. Jun 22nd, 2021

the Torch

The student voice of Wichita High School South

Artist of the Week: Frank Ocean

6 min read

Frank Ocean

Christopher Francis Ocean, born Christopher Lonny Edwin Breaux: October 28, 1987 age 31 is an American singer, songwriter, rapper, record producer and photographer. Ocean began his musical career as a ghostwriter, prior to joining hip hop collective Odd Future in 2010.  The following year, Ocean released “Nostalgia, Ultra”, his debut mixtape. The mixtape was a critical success and generated the single “Novacane” which landed at number 82 on the Billboard Hot 100 and was later platinum certified. Ocean secured a recording contract with Def Jam Recordings in 2012.

Christopher Francis Ocean, “Frank Ocean”

Ocean released his debut studio album “Channel Orange” in July of 2012. It debuted at number two on the Billboard 200 and not too long after, it was certified platinum. The album won ocean his first Grammy Award for Best Urban Contemporary Album. The album contained the singles “Thinkin Bout You”, “Pyramids”, and “Sweet Life”. His second album “Blonde” , was released in 2016 and was subject to controversy after Ocean endured protracted contract disputes with Def Jam, which led to the album suffering repeated delays. “Blonde” was released independently and debuted at number one in several countries. The album contained the single “Nikes” and was eventually certified platinum. In 2017, Ocean was featured on the Calvin Harris single “Slide”, it became Ocean’s highest charting song in the US, peaking number 25 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Ocean is known for his idiosyncratic musical style, introspective and elliptical songwriting, unconventional production techniques, and a wide vocal range. Music critics have credited him with revitalizing R&B, with his distinctive sound and style influencing numerous artists of various music genres.

Ocean was born in Long Beach, California. He is the only son to father Calvin Edward Cooksey and mother Katonya Breaux. When he was five years old, Ocean and his family relocated to New Orleans, Louisiana. Ocean was first introduced to music through his mother who would often play recordings by jazz musicians on her car stereo, which included albums by Celine Dion and Anita Baker, as well as the soundtrack to The Phantom of the Opera musical.

After getting a songwriting deal, he started working with other record producers and wrote songs for Justin Bieber, John Legend, Brandy, and Beyoncé. Ocean later said of his work at the time, “There was a point where I was composing for other people, and it might have been comfy to continue to do that and enjoy that income stream and the anonymity. Ocean later joined Los Angeles-based hip hop collective Odd Future, whom he met in 2009. In April 2011, Ocean stated that his relationship with Def Jam strengthened since the release of his mixtape “Nostalgia, Ultra”. The mixtape made Ocean widely known and led to his collaborations with rappers Jay Z and Kanye West. Ocean first appeared in Tyler The Creators music video for the single “She”, from Tyler’s debut studio album “Goblin”. His first performance was in collaboration with Odd Future at the 2011 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, where he later joined them for their first tour across the east coast of the United States.

Frank with Odd Future

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June 2021

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