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Frank Ocean

Frank Ocean

Long Beach, California, United States

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• Moved with his family to New Orleans when he was 5.

• Nicknamed Lonny as a child in honor of his mother's father, whose name was Lionel. 

• Left New Orleans for L.A. in 2005 after Hurricane Katrina. Prior to the storm, he was preparing to lay down tracks he'd written in a local recording studio. After the storm, however, the studio suffered water damage and was looted, making recording impossible.

• Supported himself in L.A. by working at Subway, Kinko's and AT&T. He even worked as an Allstate claims processor for a time.

• Eventually signed a songwriting deal that led to him contributing to songs recorded by Justin Bieber ("Bigger"), John Legend ("Quickly") and Brandy ("1st and Love").

• Signed by Def Jam in 2009, though not much came of the deal until after his 2011 mixtape Nostalgia, Ultra turned heads—including those of Beyoncé, Jay Z and Kanye West, who asked him to work with them.