Frank Ocean

  • R&B singer, songwriter and musician born Christopher Breaux in Long Beach California in 1987 and raised in New Orleans.
  • Growing up in New Orleans, he listened to the local jazz music, and did odd jobs to get money to rent studio time to record music. The studio he used was destroyed during Hurricane Katrina, so he moved to Los Angeles in 2005. He met people in the music business, and eventually got a songwriting deal. He wrote songs for major artists, including Beyoncé, Justin Bieber, John Legend and Brandy.
  • Not satisfied with just writing, he collaborated with hip-hop artists. In 2011, his first mixtape was released for free on his Tumblr account, titled nostalgia, ULTRA. In it, he sampled songs by Coldplay, The Eagles, MGMT, Radiohead and others, singing over the samples. Critics loved it, and he gained exposure with other artists, leading to collaborations with Jay-Z, Kanye West and others, as well as a recording contract for Ocean.
  • In 2012, his debut studio album was released – Channel Orange. Critics loved it, stating that it moved R&B to a new direction – some even considered it the best album of 2012. Ocean earned 6 Grammy nominations with the record, winning 2. The single Thinkin’ ‘Bout You reached #4 on the R&B chart and sold over 1 million downloads.
  • In August 2016, a video album was released through Apple Music, called Endless. The album contained 20 videos of songs recorded between 2013 and 2016 – it was his final commitment with his record label. The next day, his second studio album, Blonde, was released, with his new record label. It debuted at #1, and again was considered one of the best albums of 2016, with Rolling Stone ranking it #5, and Time Magazine ranking it #1. Eight singles from the album charted in the top 20 of the R&B chart, with Nikes reaching #9 on the chart.
  • Ocean has been the featured artist for 5 singles released by other musicians. Most notably, his collaboration with Jay-Z and Kanye West, No Church In the Wild, won a Grammy award, and his collaboration with Calvin Harris, Slide, has sold over 1 million downloads.
  • Hard to find videos on YouTube – I suspect there are some legal reasons. Anyway, I found one of Ocean singing his Grammy nominated song Thinkin’ ‘Bout You with John Mayer backing on the guitar. Check out Ocean’s falsetto.

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