Today, multi-ARIA award-winning Ghanaian-Australian artist, Genesis Owusu releases his highly awaited sophomore album, ‘STRUGGLER’ via OURNESS / AWAL, ahead of a world tour.
After launching onto the global map with his critically acclaimed debut album, ‘Smiling With No Teeth’, Owusu now steps forth with ‘STRUGGLER’; an 11 track narrative journey which Owusu simply states is “a story about a Roach, that runs and runs, trying not to get stepped on by God.” Steeped in mystery and metaphor, the story is a celebration of the inspiring stubbornness of the human will to survive. “Through pandemics, bushfires and wars, we’re still going to find a way to make it to tomorrow, and I think that’s beautiful,” says Owusu. After doing his own soul searching, Owusu combed his eclectic taste, to form a cohesive, concept driven project, where Post-Punk blends Poetry, Theatre, Garage Rock, Funk Rock, Hip-Hop and Heavy Soul. Partly inspired by Owusu’s readings of philosopher Albert Camus, novelist Franz Kafka and Samuel Beckett’s theatre play Waiting for Godot, the record paints a portrait using genres like shades of paint, freely exploring topics of resilience, hope, doubt, as well as the most basic of human questions: what’s the point?
Recorded between the US and Australia, the album’s producers traverse musical genres; from Jason Evigan (RUFUS DU SOL, SZA), to Mikey Freedom Hart (Jon Batiste’s 2021 Grammy of the Year Album, ‘We Are’), Sol Was (Beyoncé’s ‘Renaissance’), Psymun (Jean Dawson, Yves Tumor), and original producers, Dave Hammer and Andrew Klippel, who captain the production when it comes to tracks created with Owusu’s acclaimed Black Dog Band – a band consisting of Australian musical icons, Kirin J Callinan, Touch Sensitive, Jonti, Julian Sudek and Klippel himself.
The album’s opening track and leading single Leaving The Light is a fervent siren; a moving wall of fire and chaos that dares the listener to try to outrun it. Opening to a spine-crawling bassline, the song’s immediacy sets the tone for the album to come. Brash, urgent and inescapable. Through a jolting mix of poetic punk and melodic catharsis, Owusu explores form and rhythm, which is continued on the sister tracks The Roach, and The Old Man. Through a fever dream of chugging guitars and spitfire drum fills, we are introduced to our main character, The Roach, as well as the grand, looming forces that it has to struggle against. Tiny, but never defeated, The Roach hurdles through punk-rap fury, before crash landing into a soul-soaked, whiplash-inducing fourth track. The slow introspection of See Ya There showcases the honey-coated falsetto of Owusu. Beneath organs and a soul-derived composition, the song comments on how chaotic our world is, but how we’re all in it together nevertheless. “You’re going to hell, baby, and I’ll see ya there,” Owusu sings with a wink.
The fifth song, Freak Boy is a crisply frank track where nonchalant bass riffs meet new wave vocal stylings, which somehow result in the catchiness of a 2000s pop heater. Something’s got to give in, but it won’t be Owusu; The Roach keeps Roaching. The hybrid new wave/pop catchiness continues on Tied Up! before That’s Life (A Swamp) enchants with a disco-ready rhythm, layered in percussion, electronic tweaks, squeaks and an all-over funk smoothness. The irrefutable defiance of Balthazar embodies a musical middle-finger to the shackles of our own doubt. “I won’t wait my turn / the way I live is the way I’ll burn / what’s the point when we all end up in the urn? / The point’s whatever I discern!” The Roach chants like an immovable brick wall. This is the discovery that life is what we decide to make it, and that newfound empowerment soaks right into the next track, Stay Blessed. What Comes Will Come is conscious hip-hop wrapped in a black Moncler puffer – sleek and brimming with attitude, before it erupts into a euphoric UK garage dreamland, releasing all the tension we’ve been holding onto thus far. The grand finale Stuck To The Fan seeps itself in a soulful meditation of everything that our hero has experienced in their journey. These two tracks welcome and accept the absurdity of life, rather than trying to fight it. We’re told to stop viewing life as peaks and valleys, and rather like a rollercoaster, which needs ups and downs in order to make a wholly electrifying ride.
Owusu collaborates with globally-celebrated Aotearoa New Zealand artist, Lisa Reihana, on ‘STRUGGLER’’s complete visual identity. Having been showcased in elite institutions throughout the US and EU, including the Venice Biennale for her critically-acclaimed video installation, In Pursuit of Venus [Infected], Reihana’s work spans a diverse range of mediums. From film, to costume and body adornment, plus video installation, Reihana has rightfully earned a reputation as a world-renowned artist and producer, engaging in thought-provoking dialogues around the concept of culture.
Today, Genesis Owusu, one of the most exciting and new emerging voices in Australia, ushers in a new chapter and follow-up record. ‘STRUGGLER’ is your bold soundtrack to uncertain times, open for exploration as Owusu invites you to join him on a world tour this December.
In support of the album’s release, Genesis Owusu will round out 2023 with a huge run of national headline shows across December, presented by Ourness, Astral People and Handsome Tours and supported by triple j. Joining Owusu for each show (excluding Perth) will be very special guests, EARTHGANG. Tickets are flying out the door – don’t miss your spot at Owusu’s biggest performances yet.
‘STRUGGLER’ AUSTRALIAN TOUR DATES
Presented by OURNESS, triple j, Astral People & Handsome Tours
Supported by triple j
w/Special Guests EARTHGANG*
Friday 1 December – Ice Cream Factory, Perth WA*
Friday 8 December – Festival Hall, Melbourne VIC
Saturday 9 December – UC Refectory, Canberra ACT
Thursday 14 December – Fortitude Music Hall, Brisbane QLD
Friday 15 December – Hordern Pavilion, Sydney NSW
Saturday 16 December – Hindley Street Music Hall, Adelaide SA
*excluding Perth show
BUY TICKETS HERE
‘STRUGGLER’ IS OUT NOW VIA OURNESS / AWAL
BUY / STREAM HERE
With thanks to Thinking Loud