It was the year of the underdog. Odd Future crooner Frank Ocean went off on his own and captured the world’s attention with his stellar songwriting. Doing very few interviews, and rarely figuring on TV or in front of paparazzi cameras, even during the promotion of his debut album Channel Orange. Ocean let his music speak for itself. With one big exception: the letter he wrote on his Tumblr on July 3. It was a missive that he’d originally planned to include in his liner notes disclosing that his first love was a man. His coming out was met with cheers from fans and peers, who applauded his bravery. A week later, his debut shot to No. 2 on the Billboard charts selling over 130,000 units in its first week. Frank Ocean’s smooth voice, impeccable songwriting and low-key profile are why he’s #10 on our list of celebrities who dominated 2012.
Dominating Moment: There were a few, and we’ll be honest, it was hard to choose, but there is one moment that stands out more than all of the others. Frank’s debut album, Channel Orange, possibly wouldn’t have received the deserved attention it did if it weren’t for the poignant letter he posted on his Tumblr. Rather than having tabloid rumors run amuck, he told his own story, in his own time, sending him well on his way to the top.
Dominating on Twitter: He doesn’t engage with any of his nearly 2 million followers on Twitter, yet Frank is one of the most interesting celebs to tweet his thoughts in 140 characters or less. On @frank_ocean‘s timeline you’ll find everything from weird tweets like, “i’d get a cow, and name her carmen,” to things that make you go hmmm, “i’m convinced that we live inside someone’s mind.” When Frank tweets, count on it being RT’ed thousands of times because his succinct way with words is sort of like his songwriting — magical.
Best Appearances: Hands down, VIBE‘s man of the year slayed at his first ever awards show performance at the MTV VMAs, where he sang fan favorite “Thinkin Bout You” on a smoky set. The stripped-down version was praised by Lady Gaga. On his first TV appearance after the letter, he sang “Bad Religion” on Fallon making a statement of sorts. Loving someone who can’t love you back is, well, bad religion.
What We Expect From Him in 2013: It’s too soon for another album, but we’d settle for a mixtape. Not that we have any inside word on there being one in the works. What is confirmed is that he’s been in the studio with Jay-Z and Pharrell. Hooks and collaborations! As much as we enjoy the mystique to his celebrity, we expect a few more magazine and TV interviews. Now that he we’re hooked to his music, we need more Frank O, the man.
The 12 Celebs Who Dominated In 2012:
12. Ryan Lochte
11. Rebel Wilson
10. Frank Ocean
9. Damian Lewis
8. Lena Dunham
7. Blue Ivy Carter
6. Matthew McConaughey
5. Channing Tatum
4. Honey Boo Boo
[Photo: Getty Images]