Frank Ocean, born Christopher Edwin Cooksey, is an American singer, songwriter, rapper, record producer and photographer. Ocean began his musical career as a ghostwriter, prior to joining hip hop collective Odd Future in 2010, and the following year released Nostalgia, Ultra, his debut mixtape. The mixtape was a critical success and generated the single “Novacane,” which peaked at number 82 on the Billboard Hot 100 and was later certified platinum. Take a look below for 30 more fun and fascinating facts about Frank Ocean.
1. Ocean was born on October 28, 1987, in Long Beach, California.
2. When he was five years old, Ocean and his family relocated to New Orleans, Louisiana.
3. It was not until March 2014 when Ocean legally adopted his stage name, which was finalized in April 2015.
4. Ocean was first introduced to music through his mother, who would often play recordings by jazz musicians on her car stereo, which included albums by Celine Dion and Anita Baker, as well as the soundtrack to The Phantom of the Opera musical.
5. Ocean also frequented the town’s local jazz bars and parlors, which encouraged him to begin recording his own music.
6. In order to raise funds to rent recording studios, Ocean performed several jobs as a teenager, which he described as “numerous hustles”, as he would wash cars, mow lawns, and walk dogs for his neighbors.
7. After graduating from John Ehret High School in New Orleans in 2005, Ocean enrolled in the University of New Orleans to study English.
8. However, Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans in August 2005, destroyed his home and personal recording facility, and forced Ocean to transfer to the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.
9. He stayed at the university for a brief time before dropping out.
10. In 2006, Ocean moved to Los Angeles to pursue his music career, working at various fast-food and service jobs in order to support himself.
11. In less than three years, he established himself as a songwriter.
13. Ocean joined Los Angeles-based hip hop collective Odd Future, whom he had met in 2009.
14. His friendship with Odd Future member Tyler, the Creator reinvigorated Ocean’s songwriting.
15. In late 2009, he met Tricky Stewart, who helped him sign a writing contract with Def Jam Recordings. Ocean grew frustrated with Def Jam, and begun working on a mixtape of his own.
16. On February 16, 2011, Ocean self-released the resulting mixtape, Nostalgia, Ultra. The mixtape received critical acclaim.
17. Ocean’s music has been characterized by music writers as idiosyncratic in style.
18. Ocean’s music generally includes the electronic keyboard, often performed by Ocean himself, and is backed by a subdued rhythm section in the production.
19. On August 20, 2016, Ocean released a 360-page magazine, Boys Don’t Cry, alongside his long-awaited second album Blonde.
20. The fashion and automobile-themed publication contains the photo projects from Wolfgang Tillmans, Viviane Sassen, Tyrone Lebon, Ren Hang, Harley Weir, Michael Mayren and Ocean himself.
21. On May 1, 2017, Ocean attended annual Met Gala as a special photographer for Vogue.
22. On October 23, 2017, he made two covers and a visual essay for British fashion magazine, i-D.
23. Ocean wrote an open letter, initially intended for the liner notes on Channel Orange, that preemptively addressed speculation about his attraction in the past to another man. Instead, on July 4, 2012, he published an open letter on his Tumblr blog.
24. Ocean appears in a 2013 video game Grand Theft Auto V as himself playing the host of an in-game radio station called blonded Los Santos 97.8 FM.
25. In June 2016, following the Orlando gay nightclub shooting that killed 49 people, Ocean published an essay expressing his sadness and frustration regarding the event.
26. He mentions his first experience with biphobia was with his father when he was six years old and how many people pass on their hateful ideals to the next generation which sends thousands of people down the path of suicidal tendencies.
27. In 2017, Ocean’s father Calvin Cooksey sued him for $14.5 million over the homophobia claim.
28. On October 17, 2017, and after a day-long hearing that saw Ocean, father Calvin Cooksey, and mother Katonya Breaux taking the stand, the presiding U.S. District judge ruled that Cooksey hadn’t provided sufficient evidence of defamation and ruled in favor of the singer.
29. In a 2011 interview, Ocean stated that he had attempted to change his name to Christopher Francis Ocean through a legal website on his 23rd birthday. The change was reportedly partly inspired by the 1960 film Ocean’s 11.
30. In March 2014 it was reported that he was legally changing his name to Frank Ocean. In November 2014, it was revealed that the name change had not been legalized due to multiple speeding offenses. On April 23, 2015, Ocean changed his legal name to Frank Ocean, but he has still been credited as Christopher Breaux in the liner notes of some releases.