Frank Ocean Feature In GQ

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Check out Frank Ocean’s feature in the new issue of GQ: Men Of The Year 2012.

GQ: You were born in Long Beach, California, but moved to New Orleans at age 5. When is the first time you realized you wanted to write and perform music?

Frank Ocean: I feel like I was writing as I was learning to talk. Writing was always a goto form of communication. And I knew I could sing from being in tune with the radio. I would listen to whatever my mom played in the car—the big divas: Whitney, Mariah, Celine, Anita Baker. Then I got exposed to Prince. I think it was “The Beautiful Ones.” He was screaming at the end. And this lady who was playing it was saying, “Ain’t no man scream like Prince.” And I was like, “That’s fucking awesome.”

GQ: Your dad had left when you were 6, so your mom raised you on her own.

Frank Ocean:I haven’t seen him since. And for a while, you know, we were not middle-class. We were poor. But my mom never accepted that. She worked hard to become a residential contractor—got her master’s with honors at the University of New Orleans. I used to go to every class with her. Her father was my paternal figure. He’d had a really troubled life with crack, heroin, and alcohol and had kids he wasn’t an ideal parent to. I was his second chance, and he gave it his best shot. My grandfather was smart and had a whole lot of pride. He didn’t speak a terrible amount, but you could tell there was a ton on his mind—like a quiet acceptance of how life had turned out. He was a mentor at AA and NA, and I would go with him to meetings.

GQ: When did you start recording?

Frank Ocean:I booked my first studio at like 12 or 13. Somewhere in that season of my life, singing along with the radio became me wanting to be on radio, you know. And writing Langston Hughes replica poems became me wanting to write like Stevie Wonder. My dad had been a singer and keyboardist. So my mom was like, “You’re going to follow that bum? Maybe you should just go to law school.”

Read the full article here.

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