November 30, 2023

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Genesis Owusu Dominates With Perfect Night – Billboard

With a hattrick, Genesis Owusu was the big winner Thursday night (Aug. 4) at the 2022 AIR Awards in Adelaide, the annual ceremony that recognizes the best in Australia’s independent music community.

Owusu took out a perfect three-from-three, winning for best independent hip-hop album or EP and independent album of the year for his breakthrough Smiling With No Teeth, plus independent song of the year for its title track.


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The AIR Awards cap a remarkable run of wins for Owusu, whose trophy cabinet includes ARIA and APRA Awards, the J Award for Australian Album of the year, the Australian Music Prize, and first ranking in the Vanda & Young Global Songwriting Competition, all collected in the past year.

In a video acceptance speech after scooping the album category, one of the night’s top prizes, Owusu said, “I poured everything that I had into the making of this album, simply for my own sanity and mental well-being, so the fact that it’s being recognized by so many young people globally and industry-wise is insane to me. And I’m humble and grateful for it.”

There was a hattrick of sorts for I Oh You, the piping-hot Mushroom Group label that’s home to DMAs, Violent Soho, DZ Deathrays, Jack River and others.  I Oh You won independent label of the year for a third time, becoming the first brand to do so.

“We’ve been punching above our weight class, not just for this year but for a f*cking long time,” label founder Johann Ponniah said of the indie community. “Thank you for letting us be a part of that.”

Other winners on the night included Liz Stringer (best independent blues and roots album or EP with First Time Really Feeling), Courtney Barnett (best independent rock album or EP for Things Take Time, Take Time), Hiatus Kaiyote (best independent jazz album or EP for Mood Valiant), Wolf & Cub (best independent heavy album or EP for Dusk at the Watagan Forest Motel), Amyl And the Sniffers (best independent punk album or EP with Comfort to Me) and Flight Facilities (best independent dance/electronica album or EP category with Forever).

In one of the emotional moments at Freemasons Hall in the South Australian capital, Warren Costello was posthumously lauded with the 2022 outstanding achievement award, sponsored by Merlin.

Costello, who passed away earlier this year after a long battle with cancer, was nominated by AIR members for the award in recognition of his work supporting independent artists for over 30 years through labels Liberation and Bloodlines. The A$5,000 professional development prize is bestowed to Warren’s daughter, Caitlin Costello, to further her career as an entertainment lawyer.

Held live and in-person for the first time in two years, the AIR Awards featured performances from Jesswar, Telenova, Teenage Joans, Jaguar Jonze, and Andrew Swift.

The 16th annual event was once again organized by Australia’s independent music trade body AIR, with support from the South Australian government.

The gala recognizes, promotes, and celebrates the success of Australia’s independent music sector, and is a fixture in the program for AIR’s Indie-con Australia conference, held this year in Adelaide from Aug. 3-5.

The 2022 AIR Awards Recipients:

Best Independent Label
I Oh You

Independent Album Of The Year
Genesis Owusu – Smiling With No Teeth

Independent Song Of The Year
Genesis Owusu – Smiling With No Teeth

Best Independent Soul/RnB Album Or EP
Emma Donovan & The Putbacks – Under These Streets

Best Independent Country Album Or EP
Felicity Urquhart & Josh Cunningham – The Song Club

Best Independent Blues And Roots Album Or EP
Liz Stringer – First Time Really Feeling

Best Independent Pop Album Or EP
Big Scary – Daisy

Best Independent Rock Album Or EP
Courtney Barnett – Things Take Time, Take Time

Best Independent Classical Album Or EP
Genevieve Lacey/Marshall Mcguire – Bower

2022 Outstanding Achievement Award – Sponsored By Merlin
Warren Costello

Breakthrough Independent Artist Of The Year – Presented By PPCA

Best Independent Hip-Hop Album Or EP
Genesis Owusu – Smiling With No Teeth

Best Independent Dance Or Electronica Album Or EP
Flight Facilities – Forever

Best Independent Dance, Electronica Or Club Single
Shouse – Love Tonight (David Guetta Remix)

Best Independent Jazz Album Or EP
Hiatus Kaiyote – Mood Valiant

Best Independent Punk Album Or EP
Amyl And The Sniffers – Comfort To Me

Best Independent Heavy Album Or EP
Wolf & Cub – Dusk At The Watagan Motel

Best Independent Children’s Album Or EP
The Wiggles – Lullabies With Love

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