Sunday, 17 June 2012

One To Watch: Frank Ocean

Frank Ocean (real name Christopher Francis Ocean) is definitely one to keep an eye on this year as he is set to finally establish himself as a solo artist of worldwide acclaim.

This year he came second place (behind Micheal Kiwanuka) in BBC's Sound of 2012, which aims to find 'the next big thing' in the music industry. A winner is selected from a list of mostly unheard of musicians which have been put forward by radio DJ's, producers, critics and magazine/website editors. Previous winners have included Jessie J (2011), Adele (2008), Keane (2004) and 50 Cent (2003). Other artists in the top five in previous years include Florence and the Machine (2009), Duffy (2008), Klaxons (Sound of 2007), and Dizzee Rascal (Sound of 2003). The list of previous winners and runner-ups shows the calibre of artists that Frank Ocean is considered part of.

At 18-years-old Ocean moved from New Orleans to Los Angeles following Hurricane Katrina to work on his music and in 2010 he joined sprawling hip-hop collective Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All - better known as Odd Future. Ocean made a name for him self as a songwriter, writing tunes for the likes of John Legend, Brandy and most recently Beyonce (I Miss You from the album 4).

In February 2011 he released his debut mixtape Nostalgia, Ultra which was appluded by critics for its cleaver use of samples from Coldplay, MGMT and The Eagles as well as its vivid stories and satisfying hooks. His sound has been said to have bridged the gap between classic vocal R&B and smart hip-hop; this has made his album rare in it's feeling of completeness and coherence. Noteworthy tracks from his mixtape include Novacane, Swim Good and Strawberry Swing. Many have drawn up comparisons between Frank Ocean and Drake. Los Angeles Times pop critic, Randall Roberts, made this comparison but added that Ocean "one-ups him with more wit and better narratives". His mixtape caught the attention of industry heavyweights, Kanye West and Jay-Z, who featured him on two tracks on their recent Watch The Throne album. 

Most recently the 24-year-old has supported Coldplay on their world Mylo Xyloto tour and has completed his first studio album, Channel Orange, which is set to be released on July 17th 2012. A subsequent Channel Orange Tour has also been announced, but dates for that have not yet been revelaed.

Take a listen:

1 comment:

  1. I love No church in the wild but I haven't listened to his solo stuff yet - I might buy the album now. Great post, its always useful to know a bit more about an artist :)