Frank Ocean’s Co-Writer Malay Talks Channel Orange, Declines to Comment on His ‘Coming Out’


Frank Ocean has definitely been the center of news for the past couple of days, not only with his tumblr announcement, but with the impending July 17 release of his debut studio album, Channel Orange, as well.

In an effort to get inside the mind of the man that is Frank Ocean, Complex Magazine caught up with the Malay, Frank’s producer and co-writer. Check out a few excerpts from the interview, plus his newly released single, “Sweet Life” below.

On Frank’s Work Ethic…
He’s the type of artist that’s very focused and he knows exactly what he’s going for. I’m the type of producer where I’m kind of a more old-school mentality of where I just want to be behind the scenes and just kind of help artists develop their own sounds. Nowadays a lot of producers have their own signature sound and no matter who they work with it all has that certain flavor. I’m kind of the opposite. I almost want to be transparent, kind of be far under the radar. So working with Frank it was that exact situation.

On What Albums Inspired Channel Orange…
Definitely. At many points, Sly and the Family Stone, Pink Floyd, Jimi Hendrix, all kind of stuff like that. Listening to our heroes and more reference points, or sometimes just to create a mood. It’s like “Hey, let’s listen to a couple of these Stevie songs and vibe out and see what we come up with.” It may not sound anything like the Stevie song, but just creatively be inspired.

On “Forrest Gump” and Frank’s Tumblr Announcement…
First, I just want to say that I don’t want to speak about anything involving his sexuality preferences or that aspect of it, just because in this process we’ve become very close on a friendship level. I believe the reason I got involved so early and wanted to stick with it is a belief in his artistry. I feel like he’s the new hybrid of what an MC used to be in the ‘80s or ‘90s. He’s the true storyteller.

I don’t think anyone during any given point during the creative process knew what was happening, because the thing that’s so brilliant about what Frank does is, like on “Forrest Gump,” when he’s singing maybe from a female perspective or whatever, it’s a story, it’s a world that he created.

It’s not necessarily his personal—like something that he’s experiencing. Maybe it is and it’s a metaphor the way he did it, but I’m just saying once you heard the record you could tell he’s so good at creating these entire worlds from some of the songs. That being said, I don’t think at any point anyone has ever questioned where his intentions were and I think that’s why his songs connect so well.

Check Out “Sweet Life”, Frank Ocean’s co-written effort with Pharrell Williams below from Channel Orange.

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