Genesis Owusu wins 2021 Vanda & Young Global Songwriting Competition for ‘Gold Chains’

Jerome Farah and MAY-A placed second and third respectively

Genesis Owusu has won first place in ARPA AMCOS and Albert Music’s 2021 Vanda & Young Global Songwriting Competition for his ‘Smiling With No Teeth’ cut ‘Gold Chains’.

Owusu and his co-writers on the song – Andrew Klippel, Kieran J Callinan, Michael Di Francesco and Julian Sudek – will receive a $50,000 cash prize.


Melbourne’s Jerome Farah won second place in the contest for his 2020 single ‘Mikey Might’, receiving $10,000. In third place is Maya Cumming (aka MAY-A), receiving $5,000 along with co-writers Roberto De Sa and Christian Lo Russo for ‘Time I Love To Waste’, lifted from last year’s ‘Don’t Kiss Ur Friends’.

Danzal Baker (aka Baker Boy) takes home the $5,000 AMPAL Emerging Songwriter Prize for ‘Move’, co-written with Dallas Woods, James Iheakanwa and Willie Tafa. For the second year in a row, 10 honourable mentions also received a $1,000 prize; those include MAY-A, Amyl and the Sniffers, GRAACE, Miiesha, Ashwarya, Budjerah and Gang of Youths.

“Being recognised and appreciated for the art I create is an experience and makes the countless hours and effort feel worth it,” Farah said of receiving the runner-up prize for ‘Mikey Might’. “Couldn’t feel more grateful!”

The Vanda & Young Global Songwriting Competition, named after Harry Vanda and George Young of the Easybeats, was launched in 2009, with Megan Washington winning the inaugural contest. Last year, Thelma Plum took out first prize for ‘Better In Blak’, with other winners in recent years including Matt Corby and Dann Hume, Amy Shark and Gretta Ray.

Genesis Owusu’s Vanda & Young win is the latest in a string of milestones for the Canberran singer. Just last week, he won the Australian Music Prize for 2021 debut album ‘Smiling With No Teeth’, beating out the likes of Baker Boy, Amyl and the Sniffers, Nick Cave and King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard.

Other accolades ‘Smiling With No Teeth’ has achieved include four ARIA Awards (including Album of the Year and Best Hip Hop Release), the 2021 J Award for Album of the Year and the BandLab NME Award for Best Album by an Australian Artist.


In a four-star review upon its release, NME called ‘Smiling With No Teeth’ a “riveting album that underscores the power of self-knowledge, perspective and art – one that should be cranked loud”.

This weekend, Owusu will wrap up an Australian tour with shows in Brisbane and Melbourne. The run kicked off last week with a ground-breaking performance in Sydney, where a portion of the venue’s dancefloor collapsed and became unstable, prompting the show to be cancelled. The gig was rescheduled and took place without incident last night (March 9).