Frank Ocean Doesn’t Believe In The Grammys
In a new interview, Frank Ocean opens up about the success of his latest album and how it compared to his “Channel Orange”, how dating has changed for him since becoming a celebrity and why he’s throwing up the dueces to the Grammys. Check out a few excerpts.
If he feels that certain things in his career hadn’t gone the way he would have liked:
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.
Wanting to retreat from the spotlight:
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?”
If dating has been difficult for him in this period of increased celebrity:
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.
If he’s been in love since 2012:
Not the lasting kind.
How taking a pause from recording was a challenge creatively:
I had writer’s block for almost a year.
During that time, he would go to the studio,
Stare at the monitors and come up with nothing, or nothing that I liked.
How quick he created his last album, ‘Channel Orange’:
I wrote ‘Channel Orange’ in two weeks. The end product wasn’t always that gritty, real-life depiction of the real struggle that happened.
What the track ‘Self Control’ is about:
That was written about someone who I was actually in a relationship with, who wasn’t an unrequited situation. It was mutual, it was just we couldn’t really relate. We weren’t really on the same wavelength.
How he describes the process of buying himself out of his contract and purchasing all of his master recordings:
A seven-year chess game.
If he feels like album sells commensurate with what he thought they would or should be:
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.
Why he chose not to submit his music for Grammy consideration:
That institution certainly has nostalgic importance. It just doesn’t seem to be representing very well for people who come from where I come from, and hold down what I hold down. I think the infrastructure of the awarding system and the nomination system and screening system is dated. I’d rather this be my Colin Kaepernick moment for the Grammys than sit there in the audience.