What happened to Frank Ocean? Is he still making music? Many of his fans, myself included, have been asking this question for over three years.
The enigmatic singer and producer dropped two of the greatest albums of the 2010s, in the form of Channel Orange (2012) and Blonde (2016). However, his output has ground to a halt since 2020, and he has generally remained in the shadows.
So where did Frank Ocean go, and why did he stop releasing music?
Has Frank Ocean stopped making music?
Any serious fan will know that Frank Ocean has dropped several singles since the release of Blonde.
These releases came in the form of ‘Chanel’ (2017), ‘Biking’ (2017), ‘Lens’ (2017), ‘Provider’ (2017), ‘Moon River’ (2018), ‘DHL’ (2019), ‘In My Room’ (2019), and, finally, the double A-side, ‘Dear April/Cayendo’ (2020).
The string of singles has only done so much to satisfy the appetite of Frank’s die-hard fans. If anything, these singles have made us hungrier for a bigger project from him.
What we are really waiting for, with bated breath, is another full-length classic album – ideally of the same standard as Channel Orange and Blonde.
So is Frank Ocean still making music today? It’s clear that he is, and there is plenty of evidence to demonstrate it. He confirmed that he was working at studio in Malibu in the summer of 2022, and, of course, he performed at Coachella 2023 (although he cancelled his second date).
He has also produced music that has been used on his radio show Blonded Radio. This clearly shows he is still active.
But how long will we have to wait before Frank Ocean finally drops a new project?
Will Frank Ocean drop again?
It’s easy to see why Frank is taking his time before he releases a new album. Put yourself in his shoes – it’s extremely difficult to follow the success of Channel Orange and Blonde, and, naturally, he does not want to release anything mediocre. The weight of expectation on him is huge.
One commentator on the Substack Blackbird Skyplane has suggested what we could all surmise: “that he feels frozen under the expectations people have put on him to follow up Blonde with a 10/10 classic.”
In an interview with Frank’s friend and collaborator John Carroll Kirby, the author from Blackbird Skyplane asked Kirby for his opinion on Frank’s lack of releases.
Kirby explained that he was under an NDA when it comes to his work with Frank, but mentioned that he is a “perfectionist” and that he has “high hopes for whatever comes next.” No surprises there!
Is Frank Ocean making a new album?
During his 2023 Coachella performance, Frank Ocean finally addressed the question of whether or not he is releasing a new album, although his comment was characteristically cryptic.
During the performance he said, “I want to talk about why I’m here because it’s not because of a new album.” However, he went on to say, “Not that there’s not a new album.”
The double-negative is totally what we have come to expect from Frank. His little tongue-in-cheek speech served to draw attention to the fact that he has not revealed anything about a new album, and neither is he going to. The good news, however, is that he actively didn’t deny there was a new album.
Hopeful fans will definitely take that as a veiled suggestion that a new album is in the pipeline, and it would be fair to say that his playful comment invites such speculation.
Will Frank Ocean ever tour again?
As for whether or not Frank Ocean will ever tour again, things don’t look especially positive – but it’s difficult to say.
Frank’s show on 16 April 2023 at Coachella was his first show in 6 years. The show has been described as chaotic, and Frank and his team pulled out of the second slot that he was supposed to play at the festival.
Fans and critics have speculated about what exactly was going on with Frank’s Coachella show. The show reportedly had amazing moments, but Frank was largely not visible to the crowd. It has been rumoured that the show was supposed to feature an ice rink and figure skaters, which may not have come together since Frank sustained a leg injury.
Some have speculated that Frank was simply not emotionally ready for the show. Other interviews make it clear that, whether or not he tours in the future, Coachella was a one-off show, and certainly not an indication that he will be doing any more shows in the near future.
It’s difficult to say whether Frank will tour again, but it seems fairly certain that if he does, it won’t be any time soon.
You might also like: