American singer-songwriter, Frank Ocean is the latest star to cover the new issue of Gay Letter.
The 34-year-old star who is known for keeping a low-profile opened up about his personal life and tackled a wide range of topics as he spoke at length with journalist Tom Jackson.
On his decision to do more interviews:
“I’m doing more lately. In an effort to do more, I thought, What do I actually like? What do I actually read and connect with? And your guys’ magazine is one of those things. I always thought that was a misconception. I think the whole idea of me as a recluse is absurd ’cause I’m in the streets like all the time. I’m outside all the time, I’m traveling the world all the time. It’s funny to me that that’s the perception, but I understand what people mean by it in this new paradigm. I don’t know if it’s terribly calculated, but I’m just trying to put myself more into whatever kind of stream is going on here in culture. I don’t think my feelings about press have anything to do with how times are changing. I think it’s more a feeling.”
On how A$AP Rocky discussing how he managed to release his album Blonde independently:
“I feel at peace with all that. I feel like the best outcome for myself was that outcome, and I feel proud of what I was able to get done with it. I love the music and the art that came out of that period, as well as the visual work. It’s definitely a period I look back on fondly. It’s funny you bring up Rocky, because after that came out, I was like, “Rocky, I think we gotta review the CliffsNotes of that situation because you got a couple parts a little f**ked up. Nah, it was cool. [Laughs] I don’t even remember what he got wrong, but I remember what was correct. When I heard it I laughed, because I was like, It would be Rocky who would say that, ’cause I probably would never have given the real, explicit version of it. Me and him talked about it once, right after all that happened, when we were just having a conversation about the business. There was certainly noise within the industry about it, like Universal saying no more exclusives could happen afterwards. So I was being asked about it, and I didn’t really talk about it too much with people. But with Rocky, we spoke about it. I think with advice, that situation probably won’t ever happen again in the same way, so I don’t know if my advice would be any good as far as how to do it again.”
On how he protects himself as an artist in the cutthroat music industry:
“Well, f**king with major music companies, you’re going to be…deflowered. Anytime you get into the business side of the arts, there has to be some degree of objectification or commodification that you’re comfortable with, of yourself and of your work.
I don’t know about purity. It depends on what you want. A lot of people I talk to about careers in the music industry, their ideas of success have to do with nostalgia. They have to do with tropes of success, things they’ve been shown over the years that represent what a successful career is. I think that helps you become prey, because somebody can manipulate you with those things. Then you may get to a point in your experience where you become disillusioned with those things. So anybody having a clear idea?—?even if it’s as crass as “how much money do I want to make, specifically?”?—?I think that’s much clearer than some of these other things that represent success, whether that’s X amount of spins or streams or plaques. Even sold-out venues. If those things don’t help you reach your defined priorities, then what are those things there for?”
He continued, adding:
“That’s how I try to make decisions in my life and career, and, if asked, I share that philosophy with anybody who asks. For me, it’s about Why am I doing this? What exactly do I want from this? And how do I get those specific things I want out of this? And what does success look like on those terms? And what does failure look like on those terms? That’s how I think about it now.”
On what his dating life is like these days:
“I don’t use dating apps. I’ve been in a relationship for three years. I definitely wasn’t using dating apps before then. I don’t think I would use dating apps now. I fuck with Marc Jacobs’ philosophy on that, so I wouldn’t rule it out, but it is a little hectic being a famous person on dating apps.”