In the seven years since Frank Ocean‘s 2012 breakthrough ‘Channel Orange,’ the singer-songwriter has ascended the upper echelon of music’s elite.
Fuelled by purposeful privacy and projects released at sparse rates, the performer has unlocked new levels of popularity.
Ever mysterious, the star emerges from the shadows to cover the February 2019 edition of GQ Magazine, which also dubs as its Music Issue.
Beyond posing for a dapper shoot (lensed by Alasdair McLellan), the 31-year-old gave a rare interview – opening up about his recent relocation to New York, his approach to music today, and more.
Head below for pics and quotes…
On His Approach To Making Music Today:
Nowadays, I have to live with the song for a bit and I have to see if it’s worthwhile to interpret it first. To see what I can do with it, where I can insert my voice. In the past, I would just like a song and I wouldn’t think about it as seriously as when I do “Close to You” or “Moon River” or “At Your Best…” It’s much more deliberate than when I was just focused on the rap mixtape approach of taking a beat or flow, swapping the lyrics and performing it. The performance almost being the stream-of-consciousness, in-the-moment thing, whereas now I would much prefer having the song be with me for more time before I have to record it.
On His Vices:
Maybe my vice is that I watch way too much TV news. I know that I’m not getting real information, but I still watch it. I wish my vice was VH1 reality-TV shows, but it’s not—it’s MSNBC. MSNBC is Love & Hip Hop with better vocabulary and more range, but it’s the same thing. Very much entertainment.
On Relocating To New York:
I like it a lot because I spend more time at the house. I think it comes from living in hotels, but when I’m in L.A., I find myself in my car a lot.… Which is stress. In New York, it’s the first time in a minute that I’ve had my own space that’s not a hotel and not some rented home, where everything around me is mine, and that’s been really cozy and comfortable this past year. When I first got to the place, I was sleeping in the living room on this mattress Spike [Jonze] told me to get—the Duxiana (bed)—which is so nice it has an owners’ club. [laughs] It was in the middle of my living room, and I’d wake up feeling unsuccessful for the most part: Because I had nothing around. It wasn’t like I had things on the way, either; nothing was coming and there was nothing up. The feeling was absurd, but now I have things, and that’s nice. That and having the seasons. I guess I had them when I was in London, but that’s almost just the opposite of L.A. I enjoy the energy working project to project in New York that I can get from looking out my window or going downstairs: It’s the people, their pace, the unsaid energy.
The new Christmas for me that makes me feel like a youngster is the night I come home from a long trip and I have boxes in the entrance to my apartment of things I forgot I had ordered or things people send me. That’s the new Christmas. I feel very blessed, grateful, and excited, happy chemicals rushing through my veins, when I walk into my apartment and I’ve got FedEx, DHL, UPS boxes, Worldnet boxes. As simple as that is. My box cutter is greasy from all the tape.
Great seeing Frank back in some capacity; surely we’re not alone in receiving this as some sort of precursor to a musical return?
Neither ‘Endless’ nor ‘Blonde’ moved us to chorus, but there’s no denying his talent or potential for even greater success.