Christopher Francis Ocean - or Frank Ocean is definitely one to watch out for as he is set to finally establish himself as a solo artist of worldwide acclaim in 2012.
This year he came second place (the lovely Micheal Kiwanuka came first palace) in BBC's Sound of 2012, which sets out to name 'the next big thing' by selecting a winner from a list of mostly unheard of musicians which have been selected by radio DJ's, producers, critics and magazine/website editors. Previous winners have included Jessie J (2011), Adele (2008), Keane (2004) and 50 Cent (2003). Other artists in the top five in previous years include Florence and the Machine (2009), Duffy (2008), Klaxons (Sound of 2007), and Dizzee Rascal (Sound of 2003).
At 18-years-old, Frank Ocean moved from New Orleans to Los Angeles, following hurricane Katrina, to work on his music and in 2010 he joined sprawling hip-hop collective Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All - better known as OFWGKTA. The 24-year-old has also made a name for him self as a songwriter, writing tunes for the likes of John Legend, Brandy and most recently Beyonce (I Miss You from the album 4).
In February 2011 he released his debut mixtape Nostalgia, Ultra which was appluded by critics for its cleaver use of samples from Coldplay, MGMT and The Eagles as well as it vivid stories and satisfying hooks. His sound has been said to have bridged the gap between classic vocal R&B and smart hip-hop; this has made the album rare in it's feeling of completeness and coherence. Many have drew up comparisons between Frank Ocean and Drake. Los Angeles Times pop critic, Randall Roberts, made this comparison but added that Ocean "one-ups them with more wit and better narratives". His mixtape caught the attention of music industry heavyweights, Kanye West and Jay-Z, who featured him on two tracks on their Watch The Throne album. Now he is working on his first studio album.
My favourite tracks from his mixtape are Novacane and Swim Good, I also love Thinking About You, which is a leaked track that he actually wrote for Roc Nation's Bridget Kelly.