Genesis Owusu has added a particularly significant award to his growing pile of accolades, being named as the ACT’s Young Australian of the Year for 2023.
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Kofi Owusu-Ansah was bestowed with the title at this year’s Australian of the Year Awards, which took place at the National Gallery of Australia on Wednesday (November 9). He was one of four Canberra locals to be awarded, alongside agri-tech pioneer Olympia Yarger (who earned the titular Australian of the Year award), human rights activist Tom Calma (Senior Australian of the Year) and medical scientist Shamaruh Mirza (Local Hero).
In a statement shared after the ceremony, the 24-year-old Owusu said: “When I started making my music, it was an extremely personal endeavour. All I was looking to do was represent myself in the truest possible form.
“I feel like encouraging drive in every person to live their truest lives will create a space where they are feeling safe and encouraged to do that. It creates a whole society where we are so enriched by different perspectives, and everyone feels like they can truly be themselves.”
Fans will be able to hear both live at a slew of his upcoming festival sets. This month, Owusu will perform at the inaugural Harvest Rock festival in Adelaide, before delivering sets all dates on the touring Spilt Milk and Falls festivals, and Lost Paradise on the NSW Central Coast. In the new year he’ll play WOMADelaide in Adelaide and Party In The Paddock in Carrick, Tasmania, before heading to North America for a tour with Paramore.
Many of the awards in Owusu’s ever-expanding stable come on the back of his debut album, ‘Smiling With No Teeth’, which arrived last March via Otherness and featured singles like ‘The Other Black Dog’, ‘Don’t Need You’, ‘Whip Cracker’, ‘I Am’, ‘Gold Chains’, ‘Black Dogs!’ and ‘A Song About Fishing’. A deluxe edition also arrived last July, featuring the singles ‘Same Thing’ and ‘The Fall’.
Thus far, the record has earned Owusu four ARIA Awards (plus three additional nominations), three AIR Awards, two J Awards and an APRA Award (plus one additional nomination), as well as last year’s Vanda & Young Global Songwriting Competition and Australian Music Prize. Also this year, he took out the BandLab NME Award for Best Album By An Australian Artist, and has been nominated for three more ARIAs.
In addition to his own material, Owusu has kept busy with a string of collaborations. Over the past year or so, he’s linked up with the likes of PRICIE (for ‘Friendzone’), Anna Lunoe (‘Back Seat’), Winston Surfshirt (‘There’s Only One’), Tasman Keith (‘Cheque’) and Agung Mango (‘GUAP POP’).