When music fans find an artist they really love, they commonly probe along the same lines to discover similar musicians. Usually, they want to hear something approach the same sound, or maybe they have an underlying vibe in common. No two artists are exactly alike, but it feels like many overlap in some fundamental way.
Frank Ocean’s music made a huge splash right from the time he released his first studio album, Channel Orange, in 2012. His signature blend of R&B and soul mixed with deep, introspective lyrics influenced many other musicians, not to mention netted him a Grammy award and much critical acclaim.
Let’s look at three other musicians Frank Ocean fans will probably enjoy, as they have put their own stamp on some aspect of his music.
The 22-year-old pop sensation Lila Drew fits in between genres, like most great artists. Her music might seem like mainstream pop at first glance, but there are surprising chord changes and unexpected grooves.
Drew writes about modern issues in an earnest, straightforward way, especially the ones young people face in a technology-driven society. She used to describe herself as a “pop cynic,” but Drew sings poppy tunes with a wink yet is refreshingly free of that coat of detached irony that makes other singers seem too cool to say plain things plainly.
Drew’s music puts anxiety, self-doubt, and insecurity under the microscope but without ever succumbing to doom and gloom, so she belongs on any good vibes playlist. Something of the way Frank Ocean straddles genres is definitely in Drew’s music, too.
Tyler, the Creator
Tyler Gregory Okonma, known as Tyler, the Creator, is another musician who can’t be defined by narrow genre constraints. Part rap, part horrorcore, and lately more jazz-influenced melodic lines, Tyler, the Creator’s music borrows widely while still maintaining its own signature.
Okonma is one of the founding members of the arts collective known as Odd Future. In addition to music, Okonma creates all the album cover art and prints for merchandise and more. Like Frank Ocean, Okonma’s music combines vulnerability, honesty, bouts of intense emotions, and smooth grooves.
Be prepared for the unexpected, as there are considerable shifts if you look across his discography.
Actor, rapper, and entertainer Donald Glover, known as Childish Gambino, fits right in the world of Frank Ocean and Tyler, the Creator. Glover’s first album was known for its off-beat hip hop, but his next albums pivoted more towards funk. His 2017 smash hit “Redbone” won a Grammy for best traditional R&B song, which sampled the classic Booty Collins song “I’d Rather Be with You.”His political song “This is America,” and its startling music video took the world by storm in 2018. Glover is a multi-talented artist whose music can veer between goofy, cerebral lyrics, tender grooves, and sober and more thoughtful and serious topics. He’s at home almost anywhere, whether rapping on tracks, singing on grooves, or acting in Disney’s Star Wars movies.