While in high school, Ocean began recording music and worked various odd jobs to pay for the studio time. After graduating from high school in 2005, he enrolled at the University of New Orleans. However, in August of that year, Hurricane Katrina hit and wreaked havoc on the region. Amidst the chaos, the facility where Ocean was recording at the time was badly flooded and looted, prompting him to set aside his academic ambitions and take some time to pursue his musical goals.
Ocean moved to Los Angeles to continue his recording projects, intending to stay only a short while. However, as he continued to make meaningful contacts within the music industry, he decided to extend his stay. To make money during this time, Ocean worked processing insurance claims. Eventually, he got a songwriting deal and began collaborating with producers. He contributed to the writing of the Justin Bieber track “Bigger” in 2008, and the following year he co-wrote the track “I Miss You” with Beyoncé Knowles for her album 4.
That same year, Ocean began to work with the Los Angeles–based hip-hop collective Odd Future, most notably with Tyler, the Creator, who encouraged Ocean in…