Frank Ocean and interviews are rarely used in the same sentence. However, an interview is exactly what the reclusive star granted the New York Times recently.
Speaking in support of new album ‘Blonde,’ the crooner made the rare chat count – expanding on topics such as his struggles with fame, feeling isolated by the people around him, record sales, his love life, and much more.
Peep excerpts below…
On His Professional Struggles Post Channel Orange:
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, and that was problematic for me.
I had, in the midst of all of this, this feeling of isolation Within my circle, there was a lot of places I thought I could turn that I felt like I couldn’t turn to anymore.
On Abruptly Leaving LA For London — With Just A Duffel Bag, A Hard drive Of Music, & Few Contacts:
I never thought about it [being anything to do with my sanity or escapism]. I always thought about it like, if your house is on fire, you need to get out of the house.
On Being Unprepared For Certain Gigs:
Certain moments were drawbacks for sure. Now I look at things differently, but at the time, yeah. Audiences in excess of five million people [on national TV]. I was always reluctant to do those things except in cases where they had this nostalgic significance to me. Like performing at the V.M.A.s, being tapped to perform at the Grammys — me saying yes to those things had a lot to do with how those things made me feel before I was actually in the business. And just wanting to be rubbing shoulders with those people and being seen at those places. I still was reluctant and sort of skeptical of those things because I questioned whether or not I was prepared.
On Dealing With Fame:
Sometimes I’m fascinated with how famous my work could be while I’m not so famous. Super-envious of the fact that Daft Punk can wear robot helmets and be one of the most famous bands in the world, while also understanding that will never be my situation. It’s too late. It’s hard to articulate how I think about myself as a public figure. 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 Whether He’s Been In Love Since ‘Channel Orange’:
Not the lasting kind.
On Whether Fame Has Made Dating Any Different:
I think normal would be the word, whatever that word means, which is usually nothing. I’m in a very different place than I was four or five years ago with all that stuff. Different in my relationship with myself, which means everything. There’s no, like, shame or self-loathing. There’s no, you know, crisis.
On Monitoring His Record Sales:
I know exactly what the numbers are. I need to know. I need to know how many records I’ve sold, how many album equivalents from streaming, which territories are playing my music more than others, because it helps me in conversations about where we’re gonna be playing shows, or where I might open a retail location, like a pop-up store or something.
On If He Thinks His Numbers Add Up The Way They Should:
Well, we doubled ‘Channel Orange’ first week. I’m always gonna be like, “We could have done a little bit better.” I guess there’s a satisfaction that comes with looking at numbers like that, and I’m making, like, No Limit-type of equity, Master P-type of equity on my record. [Source]
Frank has a fascinating mind and story.
In many ways, “he” is beginning to engage us much more than his music – something we feel especially the case after listening to ‘Blonde’ (see: underwhelming).
Hopefully projects to come see him find a way to better align the the mystique of his character and approach to fame with material that adequately titillates. Much like he used to.