Genesis Owusu

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Genesis Owusu is a Ghanaian-Australian songwriter and performer whose hard to categorize music draws from laid-back funk, hardcore rap, and the energy of alternative rock. Naming Frank Ocean, Kanye West, OutKast, and Jimi Hendrix as influences, his songs are both celebratory and introspective, while touching on relevant social issues such as cultural appropriation and police brutality. After earning attention throughout Australia with early releases such as the 2017 EP Cardrive and his highly energetic live shows, Owusu’s single “Don’t Need You” received airplay from U.K. and U.S. tastemakers in 2020. His debut album, Smiling with No Teeth, arrived in 2021 to almost universal acclaim and went on to win Album of the Year at the ARIA Awards. Owusu’s similarly rangy and delightfully eclectic sophomore LP, Struggler, was released in August 2023.
Kofi Owusu-Ansah was born in Ghana and moved to Canberra, Australia, with his family when he was two. In 2013, he formed a duo called the Ansah Brothers with his older brother Koji, better known as Citizen Kay, and began performing solo as Genesis Owusu soon after. In 2015, he started performing with a pack of dancers and backup singers in matching red outfits known as the Goons, adding a striking visual element to his live show. He also began receiving support through influential Australian radio station Triple J, placing as a Top Five finalist in their Unearthed High competition, then being named as an Unearthed featured artist in early 2017. Following the release of Owusu’s Cardrive EP, his song “Sideways,” produced by Perrin Moss and Simon Mavin of Hiatus Kaiyote, became a radio hit. Additional tracks such as “Wit’ da Team” (2018) and “WUTD” (2019) attracted attention, and Owusu was awarded ACT Live Voice of the Year during the 2019 National Live Music Awards. His 2020 single “Don’t Need You” became a number one hit on Triple J, additionally receiving airplay on BBC Radio 6 in the U.K. and American stations like KCRW and WXPN.
Owusu recorded his debut album, Smiling with No Teeth (2021), alongside notable Australian musicians such as Kirin J. Callinan, Touch Sensitive, and World Champion’s Julian Sudek. While it peaked at number 27 on the ARIA charts, the set was widely hailed by critics and went on to win a trio of ARIA Music Awards including Album of the Year. A couple of non-album singles, “GTFO” and “Get Inspired,” as well as a collaboration with Jack River (“Endless Summer”) satiated fans while Owusu worked on his highly anticipated follow-up album. Led by the strident punk-rap single “Leaving the Light,” his sophomore LP, Struggler, appeared in August 2023 and featured production from Mikey Freedom, Sol Was, and Jason Evigan. ~ Paul Simpson