Contemporary R&B star and overall impeccable human being, Frank Ocean, is celebrating the sixth anniversary of his breakthrough, Grammy-winning album channel ORANGE this week.
I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve been trapped in a stale karaoke room and someone -a newly-confident, tipsy someone – hasn’t tried to match Frank Ocean’s eloquent high pitch range, doing their best rendition of the hit “Thinkin Bout You.” “Tornado” might be the only correct word said someone lands on, but nonetheless, Ocean has been a big part of my (and any other sane soul’s) music arsenal for the last six years.
Ocean’s debut album channel ORANGE was met with worldwide critical acclaim, spawning singles like ‘Pyramids’ and ‘Forest Gump’ and brought a whole new meaning to contemporary R&B and slow dancing. But aside from being an insanely talented musician, Ocean has been a constant figure of integrity and compassion. In honour of ORANGE‘s big day, we take a look our favourite Ocean moments…
Courage in Coming out
In a predominantly homophobic industry, Ocean took a stance in 2012 by penning an emotional confessional via his public Tumblr account, coming out as bisexual. Starting with “Whoever you are, whatever you are … I’m starting to think we’re a lot alike”. Ah, my heart. channel ORANGE is partly a tell-all love letter, with Ocean describing his relationship with a man when he was 19-years-old.
A Voice for the LGBTQ+ Community
The devastating events that unfolded at gay nightclub, Pulse, hit home for Ocean. Adapting to his role as an advocate for the LGBTQ+ community, the singer addressed the travesty, once again through his Tumblr page. The note was, and remains, a poetic dissection on the role of religion and sex, prejudice and hate, and spoke volumes on the senseless discrimination that occurred not only at Pulse, but the systematic oppression Ocean himself experienced in his childhood.
That Late Night Debut
On Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, Ocean cemented himself as a rounded performer and poet. For his first ever televised performance, right in the middle of the ORANGE buzz, Ocean sang the stunning and ridiculously soulful ‘Bad Religion’. Backed by The Roots and a full string ensemble, the performance is still talked about to this day, and skyrocketed Ocean to super stardom. Watch the full clip below with your tissues at the ready.
An Ongoing Legacy
Since the phenomenon of ORANGE and Ocean’s most recent studio album Blonde (another R&B opus), with enchanting hits like ‘Ivy’ and ‘Pink + White’, Ocean prevails as the voice we need in contemporary music. This week, notable musicians including Pharrell Williams, Tyler the Creator and Justin Timberlake have praised the singers consistency in delivering some of the best, freshest and authentic pieces of music – channeling his flaws for his artistic vision and creating a catalog of perfection.
What’s your favourite song off Channel Orange? Tell us in the comments below