It was the bravery of his words, his pioneering compositions, and his anecdotal storytelling that encouraged a new era of musical rule breakers to follow suit. When Frank Ocean released his seminal debut studio album Channel Orange, fans listened intently, and the memory of that first experience with the music is still clear in the memory of so many.
UMI recalls her middle school experience with Ocean’s 2012 LP, which turned 10 last week. The singer-songwriter sat at her dining room table and gazed at her ceiling back in 2012, as the 62-minute masterpiece taught her all the ways she can paint a scene with her words. Today she passes those lessons onto others through her own work and even brings some of Frank’s words with her on tour.
“That album felt like freedom to me,” UMI explains. “Freedom to create music however I felt. Freedom to mix genres, freedom to talk about whatever I want. Whatever stories I wanted to express.”
Just as it taught the neo-soul songbird about freedom, it taught Baby Rose to dig deeper, Joyce Wrice about speaking her truth through art, and Yuna about finding collaborators in the grandest places. Channel Orange was full of lessons for the next generation of musical leaders—some of whom covered selections from the album early on in their careers—so we gave a few of them a chance to detail what the project means to them and share a message with its creator in honor of its 10th anniversary.