From The New York Times:
On a recent Saturday morning here Frank Ocean was up early, well rested and ready to walk Everest, his Bernese mountain dog, through the up-and-down streets near the modest and modern home he’s been renting near the foot of the Hollywood Hills.
For five and a half years he’s lived in this city, since he drove west from New Orleans with $1,200 in his pocket, spending $400 on the way for gas. In that time he’s become an in-demand songwriter and now a rising star in his own right. With that success has come a roller coaster of love and letdown, and that is why, he said, it’s now time to go. Maybe to New York, or more likely to Toronto, which is more car friendly — outside the house were parked two BMWs, one red and newish and one silver and oldish — and which Mr. Ocean has fallen for based on Google searches, even though he’s never been there.
“When I think about the term ‘running away,’ probably it’s not the right one,” Mr. Ocean said as Everest was sniffing at some greenery. “It’s more I decided to do something different, so that I might have a different outlook.” He added, “When they’re emotional things you can’t run away from them anyway.”
It’s certainly tougher to do so when they’ve been etched into song. “Channel Orange” (Island Def Jam), his beautiful first full-length studio album, will be released this month, and it’s rife with the sting of unrequited love, both on the receiving and inflicting ends. Mr. Ocean, 24, is an extremely unflashy songwriter, avoiding big proclamations and broad brush strokes, instead leaning on conversational gambits and the power of detail. He makes warm, cloudy soul with echoes of Stevie Wonder, Prince and Pharrell Williams that’s almost never about seduction. In Mr. Ocean’s universe, pretty much everyone is broken beyond repair. While clearly part of a robust historical lineage Mr. Ocean is also at the forefront of a larger push-back against the stasis in contemporary R&B, something in evidence in his organic vamps but also in the Weeknd’s narcotized lust and even mainstream dance music hybrids. And Mr. Ocean’s dissents are starting to have wider effect. He’s written for Beyoncé and has collaborated with Jay-Z and Kanye West.
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