Genesis Owusu Dominated This Year’s ARIA Awards — Deservedly
Owusu took out a stack of awards for his extraordinary debut album.
Last night, the ARIAs were dominated by one name and one name only — Genesis Owusu.
The ceremony capped off an extraordinary year for the young rapper, whose record Smiling With No Teeth is one of the most inventive and subversively strange masterpieces dropped in recent memory. Owusu’s debut, the thing is a mosaic of sorts, constantly freewheeling from idea to idea, generating an energy entirely of its own in the process.
So it was well deserved that Owusu made such a splash at the ARIAs, picking up the gongs for Best Independent Release, Best Hip Hop Release, Album of the Year, and Best Cover Art. He was up against stiff competition, too — in the Album of the Year category, he handily beat off contemporary sensation Tones and I, boomer heroes Midnight Oil, pop wunderkind Amy Shark, and snaking polymaths The Avalanches. Each of those records stands tall, but Owusu’s debut has a charm and a power entirely of its own.
Elsewhere, young hip hop sensation The Kid Laroi won Best Artist. That too seemed inevitable — Laroi has spent the last year winning acclaim at home and abroad, collaborating with artists as massive as Justin Bieber and Miley Cyrus.
The award for Breakthrough Artist went to the visibly emotional Budjerah. A young talent destined for incredible things, Budjerah has been slowly accumulating his fair.share of fans over the last year, drawn to his emotional and sensitive singer-songwriter chops.
In terms of the best speech of the night, that plaudit surely goes to Tropical Fuck Storm, the supergroup comprised of members of The Drones, High Tension and Mod Con who won Best Hard Rock/Heavy Metal Release. Delivering their speech remotely, the band thanked Jesus Christ “the saviour”, Satan, and Lemmy, with singer Fiona Kitschin showing off her Motorhead shirt.
The ARIAs were, in essence, a joyous celebration of the significant talent that lives within our shores — a reminder that we need not turn to the American music industry in order to find big names, and genuinely groundbreaking artists. Long live Australian music.