Frank Ocean’s penchant for making incredibly catchy, beautiful, relatable R&B tracks and being the most low-key celebrity on the planet has kept his demand very high over the past few years. The back-to-back release of the well-received visual album Endless and chart-topper Blonde was a fitting way for Mr Ocean to signal his return to the music world but, in true Frank fashion, he has still managed to keep a relatively low profile despite turning the world on its head with his latest projects. And even though 2016 has kicked most of our asses, it isn’t quite over yet and we still deserve some light moments, and this NY Times interview with the elusive artist is definitely one of them.
Speaking to writer Jon Caramanica while driving around in his Tesla (duh) Frank fills us in on what the hell has been happening in his life for the past four years. Seemingly disenchanted with the sometimes soul-destroying culture that is the professional music industry, Frank too matters into his own hands following the success of his previous album Channel Orange, choosing to leave the country and reorganise his entire team because “if your house is on fire, you need to get out of the house.”
The years that follow (what we all now know as The Great Wait) saw Frank living and working abroad, navigating a ‘normal’ love life (“whatever that word means, which is usually nothing”), and largely avoiding social media. Frank’s known perfectionism and desire to operate on his own terms (as well as a year-long bout of writer’s block) were major reasons behind his long absence and if it weren’t for them, we may not have the great works we’ve now been playing for the last couple of months.
“I know that once it’s out, it’s out forever, so I’m not really tripping on how long it’s taking.”
And as far as what’s next? Frank’s hands-on approach to his work looks to be allowing him to make more informed choices about what to do next and where.
“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.”
Shows? Pop-up stores? Hopefully we will be seeing a lot more of Frank Ocean IRL in the future, as long as we keep supporting his craft.
Read the full interview here.