In music, quality should always be put over quantity. This is a concept that not all artists understand. One that surely does though is Frank Ocean, who celebrates his 35th birthday today!
Frank Ocean was born in Long Beach, California. At the age of five, he and his family relocated to the New Orleans area. He graduated from high school in 2005 and enrolled in the University of New Orleans. Unfortunately, Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans later that year and destroyed his home and personal recording facility. After transferring and briefly attending the University of Louisiana, Frank dropped out and decided to focus on his music career. The next year he moved to Los Angeles and things began to take off.
In LA, Frank eventually signed a songwriting deal. He wrote songs for artists including Justin Bieber, Beyonce, John Legend, and Brandy. In 2009, he joined Los Angeles-based hip-hop collective Odd Future. He often credits fellow member Tyler, the Creator for reinvigorating his writing. The next move for Frank was signing a songwriter deal with Def Jam Recordings. Feeling neglected by the label, he began working on his own mixtape without their input. This resulted in him self-releasing the critically acclaimed mixtape, Nostalgia, Ultra online for free in 2011. After the success of the mixtape, Frank restrengthened his relationship with the label and they eventually re-released the mixtape. He got even more exposure which led to him working with Jay-Z and Kanye West on their classic album Watch The Throne.
The momentum he had built made it the perfect time for him to release his debut album, which he did in 2012. Channel Orange debuted at number two on the Billboard 200 and sold 131,000 copies in its first week. He also earned six Grammy nominations for the masterpiece. He later released Endless (a visual album he released to get out of his contract with Def Jam) and Blonde, his second studio album. Both of the projects were met with critical acclaim and put Ocean in very rare air. Critics and peers alike credit Frank with revitalizing pre-contemporary R&B, as well as approaching the genre differently to his contemporaries through his use of other genres. His distinctive sound and style have influenced numerous artists of various music genres. He is one of the most acclaimed artists of this generation. Although he hasn’t dropped any projects since Blonde, he has still dropped sporadic singles and graced numerous features. These days, he works as a photographer, owns a fashion brand, has his own Beats 1 radio show and is slated to debut his first feature film with A24. On his 35th birthday, we celebrate one of the most talented and revered artists of our generation with some of out favorite photos of him over the years. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, FRANK!
Swim Good: Celebrating Frank Ocean’s 35th Birthday! was originally published on globalgrind.com