Keyboardist Describes Frank Ocean’s Cryptic Approach on ‘Blonde’

Buddy Ross says Frank Ocean's a "collage artist" in the studio.

By Hayden Wright

The keyboard is essential to Frank Ocean’s style and best musical arrangements, and his keyboard collaborator Buddy Ross recently sat down with Pitchfork to describe Ocean’s creative process. In short, Ross says the RnB star plays his cards close to the vest, keeping collaborators blind to the end result until the songs are finished.

Related: Frank Ocean: ‘I Had the Time of My Life’ Making ‘Blonde’

“I don’t think he wanted to let people have full context,” Ross said. “He’s like a collage artist in a way. We were all these bits and pieces that he’d send off to do our thing on. But we’d never see him putting it together.”

Despite the frustrating opacity of Ocean’s process, Ross says the final products are too good to fret over. He contributed keys and synths to Blonde and Ocean’s visual album Endless, and said that he’s learned to trust Ocean’s vision.

“There’s this vision [Ocean] has that you can’t really see yourself, but I learned to just trust his ear. And if he felt satisfied, then I just learned to be O.K. with that.”


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