Who Is Frank Ocean? Talks Name Change, Nostalgia, Drake Comparisons And Def Jam Disaster

Odd Future R&B crooner Frank Ocean sat down with Complex.com for their “In His Own Words” spotlight. The New Orleans-born, Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter has catapulted himself as the next big thing since the release of his free album nostalgia, Ultra. Born Christopher “Lonny” Breaux, he shared the reasoning behind his name change. “I changed my name on my birthday last year. It was the most empowering sh*t I did in 2010, for sure. I went on LegalZoom and changed my f**king name.”

On the change Ocean adds: “It just felt cool. None of us are our names. If you don’t like your name then change your name. I’m only a few steps into the process, so I probably shouldn’t even be talking about this, but by the beginning of summer I’ll be straight. I’ll be boarding planes as Christopher Francis Ocean.”

In March Ocean released ‘nostalgia, Ultra,’ one of the most stand out projects of this year; he breaks down the meaning of the title and the artwork of the album. “It’s nostalgic. It’s a longing for the past. That’s what this record felt like. I named it five minutes before we finished mastering. Right before we had to write the labels on the CDs and get out of there. Ultra, because it’s also modern because of the sonics of it. It felt right. That’s how I am. I just go with it. The only big debate was whether I was going to use the slash or the comma, but the comma felt right, too. When I did the artwork after we mastered it, I was feeling the same thing. That’s my dream car. It’s been my dream car for a minute.”

Many have compared the 23-year-old to Drake after listening to one of the standout tracks “Songs For Women.” He shares what Drake felt about the records after hearing it. “Drake reached out to me when the record came out and paid me a compliment about the sound of it. I respect Drake not only as a creative person, but as a business mind as well. I think Drake’s important. The moral of the story is Drake’s ill, and I’m ill.”

He adds: “When I talk about the girl listening to Drake and Trey Songz on “Songs For Women,” that was more in sarcasm, and in jest, than it was in seriousness. I don’t think any person in a serious relationship is threatened by the person on the radio. It’s just a cool detail.”

He also had his gripes with label Def Jam. He went on a rant via his twitter page stating: “I. did. this. not ISLAND DEF JAM. that’s why you see no label logo on the artwork that I DID. guess its my fault for trusting my dumbass lawyer and signing my career over to a failing company. F**k Def Jam & any company that goes the length of signing a kid with dreams & talent w/ no intention of following through. F**k em. now back to my day. i want some oatmeal and toast. brunch swag.”

He gave some background on how his deal manifested. “I signed my paperwork at the end of ‘09. It was official by January 2010. Outside of the contract and the paperwork, there was no relationship. I never walked through the building. I never had an opportunity to build with them, because of some other sh*t within the company. All I knew was that I was an artist, and I didn’t have a relationship with my label.”

If you haven’t heard Ocean’s project “nostalgia, Ultra,” you can listen to it in our Mixroom here.

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