The first time Om’Mas Keith heard the entirety of Frank Ocean’s Channel Orange—an album he helped create alongside Frank and a close team of collaborators—he grabbed the nearest bottle of champagne. Maybe a few almonds, too.
“It’s a delicious beverage that takes time,” the Grammy-awarded producer explains to Complex. “Champagne and almonds go well together. They both take time to make.” Keith, just like Frank, is familiar with taking his time for the best results. And as Channel Orange proved, Keith and Frank go pretty well together, too.
With a bottle of champagne in hand, Keith was celebrating what he calls a “rebirth” in his music. As he explains in a rare voice-memo interview to celebrate the album’s tenth anniversary this week, the producer entered 2012 by asking the universe for guidance. It had been three years since he and his group Sa-Ra had released an album, and he knew the trio would always be a part of his legacy, but he wanted that legacy to extend elsewhere. That’s when he started to say yes to all of the opportunities that were presented to him—including working with Frank Ocean.
By the end of the year, he was credited on what he says is “one of the most incredible fucking albums ever,” secured an eventual Grammy win, began a musical partnership that will be felt for eternity by Frank Ocean fans new and old, and launched a new chapter in his career as the in-demand producer behind a landmark LP. And he did it all just by taking a chance (and taking his time).
Channel Orange, Keith explains, will live on forever. “When you start in the music business, nobody sits you down and really tells you, ‘This is 100 years now.’ As an individual, you create something, you participate in its creation, and it’s gonna be here after you’re bye-bye,” he explains. “Everything’s been digitized and it’s going to live forever on servers. After one server breaks down, it’s all backed up to another server. And someone’s building another server on a mountain. The data ain’t going nowhere.”
In celebration of Channel Orange’s tenth anniversary, a record that Keith brought to life alongside Ocean, Malay Ho, Pharrell, John Mayer, and a handful of other collaborators, he contemplates its legacy and how it’ll evolve as new audiences continue to welcome it into their lives. This might be a long read, but just as the producer promises, taking your time won’t hurt. The interview, lightly edited for clarity, is below.