“Good writing is, in a sense invisible. It should enable the reader to see the subject, not the writer”; a quote said by Donald Murray applies directly to the craft and ability of Frank Ocean’s song writing skills. Before we knew him as the mastermind behind channel orange, he was Frank Ocean the song writer who worked with many big name artists such as Beyonce, Brandy, Justin Beiber and more.
Ocean scored a deal with Def Jam in ’09 and two years later, the 24-year-old wowed the public with his debut mixtape “Nostalgia”. While gaining a fan base and a reputation of now being a talented singer/songwriter, Ocean became affiliated with the corky and talented Odd Future group. With two feature appearances on Watch the Throne along with Jay Z and Kanye West, Ocean gained even more momentum and fans. While the world wanted and anticipated a debut album from the talented singer, he gave us all a sneak peak of what he had in store with a single about Egypt’s past queen. The single “Pyramids”, which is a soulful and melodic tale of Cleopatra’s death by serpent, paralleled by a nightly encounter with a dancer who works at the Pyramid. From this single alone, Frank Ocean prepared the world for Channel Orange.
Released on July 10, 2012 on iTunes, Channel Orange had made its way to the many fans that waited. A track list of 17 amazing and witty songs features some very talented artists such as John Mayer, Andre’ 3000, and Odd future’s own Earl Sweatshirt. Frank Ocean has pleased his fans and the music industry with this audible story book. While digging deeper into why Frank titled this master piece “Channel Orange”, I looked up the meaning of both the words “channel” and “orange”. According to Squidoo.com, the color orange symbolizes many things but one caught my attention and related to Frank Ocean personally. “Orange is a color that attracts controversy like red”, says the unknown writer of this site, while the word “channel” means the deepest part of a waterway. A few days before the physical release of the album, Frank Ocean wrote to the public via Tumblr about his first romance being with a male. Of course that brought controversy but ultimately it brought Frank respect and more fans; there may not be a reason for why he titled this album what he did, but as witty as he is one can’t help but wonder.
When asked how she felt about Channel Orange, Ashley Wynn, a college student and die-hard fan had this to say: “I felt it was liberating, something people could relate to. It was filled with meaning and purpose.”
Along with the great feedback from this album, Frank Ocean is nominated for three 2012 MTV VMA awards as well as doing a nationwide tour. It is safe to say that we will be seeing way more of Mr. Ocean; with all the success of Channel Orange, there is no doubt that Frank Ocean will remain a relevant factor in the music industry.
Author: Jasmonae Rountree
Originally published August 12, 2012