Why Does Frank Ocean Wear Headphones During Live Performances?

by Alex.   Last Updated On September 17th, 2022.
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Christopher Francis, also known as Frank Ocean, is an American singer, songwriter, and rapper. He was born back on October 28, 1987, in Long Beach, California. He began his music career as a ghostwriter, and the following year, he released “Channel Orange” 2012, which incorporated R&B and soul styles that were nominated and awarded Album of the Year.

After he released his album, the rest was history. His avant-garde styles and elliptical lyrics allowed him to garner two Grammys Awards and Brit Awards for International Male Solo Artist, among other awards. But a frequent observation from this live music is that during his live performance, he always wears headphones. So why does Frank ocean wear headphones during his live performances?

Frank Ocean wears headphones when he performs singing to isolate himself from the crowd noises via noise canceling headphones. In addition, the reason he also wears headphones is to hear the backing track and vocals, which allows him to monitor the sound accurately.

In this article, we will tackle who Frank Ocean is, why Frank Ocean wears headphones during his performances, what headphones he wears, and many more.

Let’s get right into it.

Table of Contents

Who is Frank Ocean?

Frank Ocean is a famous artist born in California on October 28, 1987. He is a renowned artist known for his unique music style. He spent a lot of his time in New Orleans but then moved to Los Angeles to pursue a music career, which his mother highly encouraged.

Frank Ocean got his motivation to pursue a career in music because his mother loved to play jazz music through the stereo in her car. Adding to this, he also frequently visited jazz bars with his mother, and after working several part-time jobs, he finally saved enough money to record his first music.

This studio musician started his career as a ghostwriter for famous artists like Justin Bieber and finally got his big break when Frank Ocean released his mixtape named “nostalgia Ultra.”

Frank Ocean’s other albums, such as Channel Orange and Blonde, made him one of the best artists in the world as his peculiar music style garnered several prestigious awards, such as Album of the Year and Best Urban Contemporary Album in the 2013 Grammy Awards. His Blonde album also got on the US billboard 200 and was certified platinum by the recording association in the United States.

Besides his unique music style, Frank Ocean fans also found that Frank Ocean wears headphones when he does his live performances, so why is this?

Why does Frank Ocean wear headphones?

Noise canceling

Frank Ocean wears noise canceling headphones during his performances because it allows him to produce better sounding music by isolating himself from the background noise from his fans. Being a studio musician, he wants to recreate this environment because it allowed him to garner international stardom. The noise canceling feature protects Frank Ocean from unnecessary noise and all the other sounds that can affect his music’s sound quality.

Aside from sound canceling earmuffs reducing noise, the headphones protect Frank from added stress levels from the crowd by reducing the sounds of the ambient atmosphere, which blocks and filters out high-frequency sound waves.

In addition to this, one of the reasons why he wears headphones is that it blocks out such harmful noise levels whenever Frank Ocean performs in stadiums. Whenever Frank Ocean produces music, he does it in a quiet, ideal environment free from environmental distractions, but when he goes to concerts, external noise levels can reach up to more than 75 decibels which can damage anyone’s eardrums.

These benefits allowed other artists to emulate Frank Ocean and also to wear headphones because it provides tons of benefits in producing better music and in protecting their ears. However, a big downside to wearing noise canceling earphones onstage is that they can be expensive, heavy, and hurt the artist’s ears when worn for a long time.

Hearing the backing track and vocals

Another massive benefit of wearing headphones for artists such as Frank Ocean is accurately hearing the backing tracks and vocals. The studio headphones Frank Ocean wears have in ear monitors to hear backing tracks and vocals, which allows him to listen to his music accurately and tweak his settings to produce the best-sounding music.

Contrary to regular headphones, monitor headphones provide comfort and have no boosted bass, which means they produce flat frequency responses and are also pretty robust. Lastly, a considerable advantage of monitor headphones is blocking out all the other sounds using passive or active responses.

What headphones does Frank Ocean wear?

Peltor earmuffs

The 3M Peltor earmuffs are the headphones Frank Ocean frequently wears during his performances. Although the sound quality from these headphones is not the best, they provide high-quality isolation because of their stainless steel headband, which allows the headphones to block out a lot of the noise and reduces environmental distractions.

The ear cups also tilt to ensure a snug fit around this recording artist’s ears.

Vic firth isolation headphones

In some concerts, Frank Ocean has been seen wearing Vic firth isolation headphones which also block out a lot of noise from his shows as he always wants to produce music at its best quality which is primarily done in his quiet studio setting.

Why are in-ear monitors so expensive?

Most musicians wear ear monitor headphones because they accurately monitor the music they produce during their performances. But a big downside to these in ear monitors is that they are so expensive, but why are they super expensive?

In ear, monitors are expensive because they do far more than regular headphones. Such as drastically reducing the background noise by fitting into the ear canal. In ear, monitors are far more sophisticated than regular headphones designed for music producers or sound engineers.

They have multiple drivers to increase sound quality and have high technology that blocks out a lot of the background noise.

Does Frank Ocean still make music?

Frank Ocean’s last official music was released in April 2020, the double A-side single ‘Dear April’ and ‘Cayendo.’ However, he has been steadily releasing songs here and there on his Apple Music radio show, and he is even rumored to be headlining Coachella in 2023, as claimed by the festival’s co-founder.

Why is Frank Ocean taking a break from music?

With this high level of success, one might ask what temporarily prompted him to take a temporary break from songwriting. This might have something to do with the passing of his brother Ryan Moore on August 2, 2020, because of a car accident.

Frank and his brother were extremely close, and Frank loved his brother more than anything else; he is taking this time away from music to spend more time with his family and collect himself mentally. There are no sources as to when Frank will get back to writing and producing music, but his fans have been very understanding of his situation and supportive of Frank over the mourning of his brother.

Is Frank Ocean going to make music again?

Frank Ocean released his acclaimed album “Channel Orange” last year. During that period, Ocean is generally quiet but occasionally pops up with a song. While some fans have been eagerly waiting for a new album, others have started to worry that Ocean may not be able to play anymore.

Some explanations might explain why Ocean didn’t get new music. He may be busy working on new albums, but it takes time to perfect them. The singer might also deal with personal difficulties in order not to release any more songs, such as the recent passing of his brother.

No sources have claimed when Frank Ocean will rerelease new music, but Coachella’s co-founder has stated that Frank will be headlining the 2023 Coachella festival.

Why do singers close their eyes when they sing?

A thing that most singers do in their performances is that they close their eyes when they sing. Aside from expressing the emotional senses from their song, the biggest reason why singers close their eyes when they sing is to maintain focus on singing, as there are many distractions during live performances.

Closing their eyes means taking off one significant sense that will enable them to focus on one thing: singing.

Male singer

Frequently Asked Questions

Why do rappers wear headphones when performing?

Rappers wear headphones when performing because it helps rappers to listen to pre-recorded tracks while recording their parts without bleeding. It also helps when it comes to timing because rappers rely heavily on the song’s beats to create their lyrics.

Why do singers close one ear?

Singers sometimes close one ear when performing because it allows them to hear themselves in a noisy environment and it allows them to focus on their pitch, which will enable them to create high-quality music for their audiences.

Why do audiophiles like IEMs?

Audiophiles highly recommend using IEMs because it allows them to hear the music the artists intended to sound like. Often in headphones, when people increase the sound level, the quality gets damaged, saturated, or manipulated in some way, which cannot be easy to detect for ordinary people but is a huge deal breaker to audiophiles and sound engineers.


Frank Ocean is a fantastic artist. Other than his lyrical genius and unique music style, a massive part of why he produces and performs top-tier music is his dedication to his art by using headphones to recreate his ideal music-making environment.

We hope this informative article has helped you become more knowledgeable on what headphones Frank Ocean wears during his performances.