GQ/Alasdair McLellan

Frank Ocean Covers GQ: Talks Music, Politics, & Social Media

Frank Ocean has done a good job remaining out of the spotlight.

But in a rare media appearance, the reclusive singer graces the cover of GQ‘s Music Issue. Ocean dons a floral-print Prada turtleneck in the shoot by photographer Alasdair McLellan.

For the interview, the 31-year-old spoke with his Blonded Radio co-hosts Vegyn and Emmett Cruddas Radio to discuss everything from his move to New York City to his vice for television news. He also revealed why he decided to make his Instagram account public and why felt “responsible” to get out the vote during the 2018 midterm elections.

As he gears up for his next project, find out what inspires Ocean and why he needs the skin-care keys from Pharrell.

On why he went public on Instagram: “I feel like there was dissonance between how I was seen by the audience and where I was actually, so that contributed to the decision to make my Instagram public, for sure. But there’s also the idea of dialogue and discourse and conversation—like theater where the audience can interrupt you versus the television.”

On controlling the narrative: “There’s a way you wanna be in the visual press, although you could potentially be misrepresented; when you’re completely minimal with media, there’s a lot of pressure on whatever one thing you’re doing, the stakes are higher. Social media helps that, ’cause you’re fully in control and can message that how you want.”

On moving to New York: “I enjoy the energy working project to project in New York that I can get from looking out my window or going downstairs: It’s the people, their pace, the unsaid energy.”

On finding inspiration: “I’ve been taking pictures of everything. I’m at this hotel. Just pictures of the sheet company’s labels, the floor mats and towels. I like that there’s no Sheetrock or plaster, it’s all wood and fabric walls only. I think that’s cool.”

On his activism during the 2018 midterm elections: “Getting seven or eight thousand people who might not have otherwise voted to participate like that is a testament to what public figures can do or encourage with their voice. It feels responsible, especially at this time. Maybe also at many times prior, but it feels less like responsibility and more like a great opportunity that I had and still have.”

On his skin-care routine: “You really need to do a gentle wash and put a night moisturizer on. You can’t have the retinol in your creams in the day because it makes you more sun-sensitive, so you wanna throw that on at night. I need the night cream because when I wake up I feel very beautiful, moisturized and ready to have people making eye contact with me, ready to look above my eyebrow, below the eyebrow. [laughs] That’s the life hack right there. It’s been all these years, and Pharrell still hasn’t given us the keys yet. He just says ‘exfoliate,’ but it’s not just ‘exfoliate’: We need more keys.”

On his vice: “Maybe my vice is that I watch way too much TV news. I know that I’m not getting real information, but I still watch it. I wish my vice was VH1 reality-TV shows, but it’s not—it’s MSNBC. MSNBC is ‘Love & Hip Hop’ with better vocabulary and more range, but it’s the same thing. Very much entertainment.”

On what excites him: “The new Christmas for me that makes me feel like a youngster is the night I come home from a long trip and I have boxes in the entrance to my apartment of things I forgot I had ordered or things people send me. That’s the new Christmas.”