Rewind back a few weeks ago, Frank made headlines after he posted a letter to his tumblr, describing the first time he fell in love. An unrequited love with a guy, who at the time was occupied with someone else. The letter was a very personal backstory to the album, ‘Channel Orange’ which was released days later, however, fans were left with so many questions and no answers. The main one being; ‘Why now?’.
Frank recently sat down with the UK Guardian, and in an interview constructed of more than typed up pre-meditated answers, he openly talked about why he’s taking so many risks in his career, including the risk of pissing off his label by releasing his shelved Def Jam album as a mixtape and his decision to open up about his sexuality. According to Frank, he wanted to be validated in knowing that the fans who showed up at his show were clapping because they had a real appreciation for him and his music (even after knowing) and it would have took unnecessary effort to continue to change the words to his songs. ‘I don’t fear anybody’, he says.
Check out what else he had to say below (lengthy):
Frank on taking risks such as releasing Nostalgia, Ultra as a mixtape and ‘coming out’
I won’t touch on risky, because that’s subjective. People are just afraid of things too much. Afraid of things that don’t necessarily merit fear. Me putting Nostalgia out … what’s physically going to happen? Me saying what I said on my Tumblr last week? Sure, evil exists, extremism exists. Somebody could commit a hate crime and hurt me. But they could do the same just because I’m black. They could do the same just because I’m American. Do you just not go outside your house? Do you not drive your car because of the statistics? How else are you limiting your life for fear.
On people labeling him ‘courageous’ and why he decided to be open about his sexuality
A lot of people have said that since that news came out. I suppose a percentage of that act was because of altruism; because I was thinking of how I wished at 13 or 14 there was somebody I looked up to who would have said something like that, who would have been transparent in that way. But there’s another side of it that’s just about my own sanity and my ability to feel like I’m living a life where I’m not just successful on paper, but sure that I’m happy when I wake up in the morning, and not with this freakin’ boulder on my chest.”
On the timing of his letter and decision to reveal before his album was released
I knew that I was writing in a way that people would ask questions. I knew that my star was rising, and I knew that if I waited I would always have somebody that I respected be able to encourage me to wait longer, to not say it till who knows when. It was important for me to know that when I go out on the road and I do these things, that I’m looking at people who are applauding because of an appreciation for me,” he says. “I don’t have many secrets, so if you know that, and you’re still applauding … it may be some sort of sick validation but it was important to me. When I heard people talking about certain, you know, ‘pronouns’ in the writing of the record, I just wanted to – like I said on the post – offer some clarity; clarify, before the fire got too wild and the conversation became too unfocused and murky.”
On why he just didn’t change the words ‘him’ to ‘her’ on records like ‘Bad Religion‘ and ‘Forrest Gump‘
When you write a song like Forrest Gump, the subject can’t be androgynous. It requires an unnecessary amount of effort.I don’t fear anybody … ” He laughs, making eye contact at last, his face lighting up, ” … at all. So, to answer your question, yes, I could have easily changed the words. But for what? I just feel like it’s just another time now. I have no interest in contributing to that, especially with my art. It’s the one thing that I know will outlive me and outlive my feelings. It will outlive my depressive seasons.”
On his mystique
“It’s not formulaic,” he says. “It’s not me necessarily trying to preserve mystique. It’s who I am. It’s how I prefer to move. I really don’t think that deeply about it at all, I swear I don’t. I’m just existing.”
Frank also chatted about the messages behind his music, having real pimps in his family which influenced the track, ‘Pyramids‘ as well as attending substance abuse meetings with his uncle, a recovering addict, which influenced songs like ‘Crack Rock‘. An interesting read.
Find the entire interview over at The Guardian