Frank Ocean is very well known for not saying a lot, much less speaking to the press so it’s a minor miracle that the NY Times was able to land him for an exchange. One imagines there’s been enough rumors circulating in regards to his relationship with Def Jam, reception for “Endless” and Blonde” and why he wasn’t nominated for a Grammy that Ocean had a hankering to go on the record and provide clarity, after which he can retreat back to a more quiet privacy.
Ocean’s elusive nature is expressed from the jump in the article, in which it’s revealed he hasn’t had a proper home for the past year, instead staying in a variety of temporary hotels and locations around the globe. (Though he’s in the midst of looking for a home in New York.) Described by writer Jon Caramanica as “preternaturally calm, consistently forthright, reflexively self-aware, and wryly funny” throughout the interview process, here are some of the pieces more compelling reveals.
- On leaving behind his management team at the time and Los Angeles to move to London in 2013: “It started to weigh on me that I was responsible for the moves that had made me successful, but I wasn’t reaping the lion’s share of the profits.”
- On his struggles with fame: “I’ve gotten used to being Frank Ocean. A lot of people stopped me on the street when I hadn’t put music out in a while, literally would yell out of an Uber, ‘Frank, where the album?'”
- On carrying his recordings with him wherever he travel: “I’d rather the plane goes down in flames and the drives go down with me than somebody put out a weird posthumous release.”
- On the source of inspiration for “Nike”: “That was written about someone who I was actually in a relationship with. It was mutual, it was just we couldn’t really relate. We weren’t really on the same wavelength.”
- On buying himself out of his Def Jam contract and purchasing back all of his master recordings using his own money: “A seven-year chess game.”
- On how “Endless” and “Blonde” have performed versus “Channel Orange”: “We doubled ‘Channel Orange’ first week.”
- On choosing to not submit music to the Grammys for consideration: “It just doesn’t seem to be representing very well for people who come from where I come from.”
- On how he will move forward as an independent artist: “Because I’m not in a record deal, I don’t have to operate in an album format.”
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