Genesis Owusu wins big at AIR Awards 2022

With a hat trick, Genesis Owusu was the big winner on Thursday night (August 4) in 2022 AIR Awards in Adelaidethe annual ceremony recognizing the best in Australia’s independent music community.

Owusu took a perfect out three-from-threewinning Best Independent Hip-Hop Album or EP and Independent Album of the Year for its breakthrough Smiling without teethplus independent song of the year for its title track.


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AIR Awards cap a remarkable streak of victories for Owusu, whose trophy cabinet includes ARIA and APRA Awards, the J Award for Australian Album of the Year, the Australian Music Award and first place in the Vanda & Young Global Songwriting Competition, all collected in the past year.

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

There was a kind of hat trick In Oh You, the fiery Mushroom Group label home to DMAs, Violent Soho, DZ Deathrays, Jack River and others. I Oh You won independent label of the year for the third time, becoming the first label to do so.

“We’ve punched above our weight class, not just for this year, but for a damn long time,” label founder Johann Ponniah said of the indie scene. “Thank you for letting us be a part of it.”

Other winners on the night were Liz Stringer (Best Independent Blues and Roots Album or EP featuring First time Real Feeling), Courtney Barnett (Best Indie 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 Heavyweight Album or EP for Dusk at the Watagan Forest Motel), Amyl And the Sniffers (best independent punk album or EP with Comfort 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 honored with the 2022 Outstanding Achievement Award, sponsored by Merlin.

Costello, who died earlier this year after a long battle against cancer, was nominated by AIR members for the award in recognition of his work supporting independent artists for over 30 years through the Liberation and Bloodlines labels. The A$5,000 professional development award is presented 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 recognises, promotes and celebrates the success of Australia’s independent music sector and is a regular feature of the program for AIR’s Indie-con Australia conference, which this year will be held in Adelaide from August. 3-5.

Recipients of AIR Awards 2022:

Best Independent Label
In Oh You

Independent Album of the Year
Genesis Owusu – Smiling Without Teeth

Independent Song of the Year
Genesis Owusu – Smiling Without 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 feel

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 Without Teeth

Best Independent Dance or Electronic 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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