How Frank Ocean Evolved From Ghostwriter to Grammy Winner

Frank Ocean is an inspirational singer/songwriter, and not just within the African American and LGBT communities. He got into the music industry through hard work, good connections, and some twists of fate. Here’s what you can learn from his story!

1) He Worked at Recording Studios – Frank Ocean grew up around the New Orleans jazz scene, with a deep passion for music of all different genres. How did he develop his own style? He saved money to rent a recording studio. Ocean worked his butt off mowing lawns, walking dogs, washing cars, and doing other chores. Although there are jobs that are bound to pay you more in less time, you too should do whatever is necessary to get the equipment you need.

2) He Wrote For Other Artists - After Hurricane Katrina hit, destroying his recording studio, Frank Ocean moved to Los Angeles. There, he worked at another recording studio, ghostwriting for artists like John Legend and Beyonce. This helped him work on his style, his resume, and his connections. You too can be involved in the work of other musicians you know.

3) He Joined a Hip Hop Collective - In 2009, Frank Ocean joined the hip hop collective Odd Future. He got to collaborate and work on music projects with fellow artists in the group. His close friendship with the founder, rapper Tyler the Creator, renewed his style and passion for songwriting. You too should try to meet as many artists of the same genre as possible and learn from them. Both in the local area and online –through SoundCloud groups, for example.

4) He Understood How to Network – Through his extensive network and developed talent, Frank Ocean met music producer Tricky Stewart, who helped him get signed with Def Jam Recordings. He then got to focus on his solo work, while still collaborating with fellow musicians now and then. Ocean eventually received grammy awards for not only his critically acclaimed album, channel ORANGE, but also for his “No Church In The Wild” vocal collaboration with Jay-Z and Kanye West.  Key lesson: help out others and they will help you out in return.

Success in the music industry comes not only with hard work, talent, and luck, but also by just being a good friend.

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Michelle Nguyen is a writer whose passions include music, sports, health, and wellness. She loves playing drums and bass guitar, as well as swimming. If she indirectly helps you write the next “Stairway to Heaven,” she will be very happy.

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