He creates alone. Even when he’s not.
There was very little talking in the studio.
This is a common refrain for people who work with Ocean. (Da’Jon, a young cousin from New Orleans who was living with Ocean when I visited, said that they sometimes go days without speaking to each other, and that he would occasionally ask Ocean if everything was O.K., just to be sure.)
He doesn’t worry about popularity.
“I have no delusions about my likability, in every scenario,” he told me earlier. “I know that in order to get things done the way you want them, oftentimes your position will be unpopular.”
He lets his personality step aside to reveal his work.
He practices brevity in most things. He curates and updates his image on Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr deftly and consistently, but he never overshares. “As a writer, as a creator, I’m giving you my experiences,” he said in the GQ interview. “But just take what I give you. You ain’t got to pry beyond that.” To me, he said, “I don’t know if it’s a shield or whatever, but I want to deflect as much as I can onto my work.”
Read the entire profile of Ocean in The New York Times. The piece reveals the singer’s studio habits and how his complete creative control led to his success (and a rumored $1 million advance for Channel Orange).