Channel Orange (stylized as channel ORANGE) is the debut studio album by American singer-songwriter Frank Ocean. It was released on July 10, 2012, by Def Jam Recordings.
After releasing his mixtape Nostalgia, Ultra in 2011, Ocean began writing new songs with Malay, a producer and songwriter who assisted him with recording his debut album at EastWest Studios in Hollywood. Rather than rely on samples as he had with his mixtape, Ocean wanted to approach sound and song structure differently on Channel Orange. Other producers to work on the album included Om'Mas Keith and Pharrell Williams. Its recording also featured guest appearances from Odd Future rappers Earl Sweatshirt and Tyler, the Creator, vocalist/songwriter André 3000, and guitarist John Mayer.
Channel Orange has an unconventional musical style, drawing on electro-funk, pop-soul, jazz-funk, psychedelic music, and nonmusical sounds such as film dialogue and ambient noise that function as interludes. Vocally, Ocean uses a free-form flow as well as alternating falsetto and tenor registers throughout the album. His songwriting explores themes of unrequited love, decadence, class, and drugs through the use of surrealistic imagery, conversational devices, and descriptive narratives depicting dark characters. He titled the album as a reference to the neurological phenomenon grapheme–color synesthesia, through which he perceived the color orange during the summer he first fell in love.
To prevent Channel Orange from leaking onto the Internet, Ocean and Def Jam released the album digitally one week earlier than its publicly announced date. It was promoted with five singles, including Ocean's highest charting single "Thinkin Bout You" (number 32 on the US Billboard Hot 100) and a supporting concert tour in July 2012. Channel Orange debuted at number two on the US Billboard 200 and sold 131,000 copies in its first week, eventually selling 621,000 copies in the US by September 2014. Critically, it was the best-reviewed album of 2012 and the year's top-ranked album in numerous critics' lists, including the American Pazz & Jop and the British HMV Poll of Polls. At the 2013 Grammy Awards, Channel Orange was nominated for Album of the Year and won Best Urban Contemporary Album. It has been featured in several lists of the best albums of the 2010s and of all time. .