Long before Blonde, or even before Frank Ocean started to earn notice for his work with the rap collective Odd Future, he was working as a professional songwriter in L.A. "I had a problem listening to anybody," he told the New York Times Magazine in 2013. "I had a problem listening to A&Rs telling me how a song was supposed to sound, or what this artist's vibe was." But the work offered a means of support for a time, as Ocean placed tracks with Brandy, Justin Bieber and others.
Much of the material Ocean wrote during this period, including his versions of Brandy's "Scared and Beautiful" and John Legend's "Quickly," eventually found its way online in a release titled The Lonny Breaux Collection. Several of these songs, especially collaborations with the production duo Midi Mafia, are still among Ocean's strongest records: "Miss You So," which Conor Maynard later released, and "No Bonnie" rival the intense yearning of his best solo tracks.
After Ocean released the Nostalgia, Ultra mixtape in 2011, he made sudden leaps into the superstar sphere – penning tunes for Beyoncé, singing hooks on Jay Z and Kanye West's Watch the Throne. These days, he seems to write less for other artists, though he made an exception to help James Blake with The Colour in Anything earlier this year. Below we round up some of Ocean's notable writing credits.