All eyes on Frank Ocean as Grammy Awards approach
FILE - This Nov. 17, 2011, file photo, shows musician Frank Ocean at the 16th annual GQ "Men of the Year" party in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Matt Sayles, File)
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Everybody's thinkin' about Frank Ocean.
Ocean is a cause celebre and the man with the momentum as Sunday's Grammy Awards kicked off with pre-telecast wins by Rihanna and Mumford & Sons. One of six top nominees with six nominations apiece, the 25-year-old R&B singer turned cultural talking point will have the music world's attention.
It remains to be seen if it will be the "Thinkin Bout You" singer's night, but there's no question he's dominated the discussion so far. Already a budding star with a gift for building buzz as well as crafting songs, Ocean was swept up by something more profound when he told fans his first love was a man last fall as he prepared to release his major-label debut, "channel ORANGE."
It was a bold move and one that could have submarined his career before it really even got started. Instead, everyone from Beyonce to the often-homophobic R&B and rap communities showed public support. It was a remarkable moment.
"It speaks to the advancements of our culture," renowned producer Rick Rubin said. "It feels like the culture's moving forward and he's a representative of the new acceptance in the world for different ideas, which just broadens (our experience), makes the world a better place."
A recent altercation in a parking lot with Chris Brown only focused more attention on Ocean. Ocean says Brown was the aggressor; both are competing against each other in one of the Grammy categories.
Ocean is up for the major awards best new artist, album of the year and record of the year when the show airs live on CBS at 8 p.m. EST from the Staples Center, sharing top-nominee billing with fun., Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys, Mumford & Sons, Jay-Z and Kanye West.
Singer Frank Ocean performs at Levi's An Evening with Frank Ocean in Los Angeles on Friday, Feb. 8, 2013. (Photo by Dan Steinberg/Invision/AP)
The Grammy pre-telecast awards show got under way Sunday afternoon at the Nokia Theatre with 70 trophies up for grabs, including rock, pop, rap and country categories. Rihanna's "We Found Love," featuring Calvin Harris, won the day's first award, short form music video. Mumford & Sons took their first Grammy, winning along with Old Crow Medicine Show and Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros for their long form video documentary "Big Easy Express."