It wasn’t long ago that Genesis Owusu, the Ghanaian born and Canberra bred singer, was a relatively unknown commodity in the Australian music scene.
However, after releasing his debut album, Smiling With No Teeth, in March 2021, that all began to change.
Capping off his meteoric rise, Genesis won Triple J’s Australian Album of the Year and Music Video of the Year last week, before claiming four ARIA Awards on Wednesday, 24 November.
He was awarded the coveted ARIA Album of the Year. Historically, the award places him in some elite company with winners of this category in recent years including internationally acclaimed acts Tame Impala, Dean Lewis, Amy Shark and Gang of Youths. If their career trajectories after winning the award are anything to go by, the best of Genesis Owusu is yet to come.
“This is insane,” said Genesis upon receiving the ARIA award.
“I used to get side-eyed a lot when I was younger for the way I dressed and the things I did, but all the people I loved and respected always stood firm, immovable and unshakeable because we knew the power in who we were and what we created.
“This means so much to me. For all those people, [record label] Goon Club worldwide, eccentrics, black people, know it’s not up to us to change for people, but it’s up to people to catch up and see what they’re missing out on.”
Not only did Genesis win four ARIA awards – best album, best hip-hop release, best independent release and best cover art – but his medley performance of album hits Waitin’ on Ya, The Other Black Dog and Don’t Need You at the ARIA Awards ceremony delighted his fans.
It’s difficult to define his music’s genre as it blends elements of hip hop, soul, funk and R&B. Genesis crosses multiple genres from song to song, and its this variety that will ensure he is a popular performer at Australian festivals when they return.
One description of his music is Gorillaz meets Kid Cudi. In Australia, there really isn’t anyone else like him.
Achieving it all as an independent artist makes it all the more impressive.
Canberra’s biggest music star is emerging before our eyes.