Interview: Genesis Owusu Takes Us Through His New Single ‘Awomen, Amen’
Catch him performing across the country.
Music 7m

Image via Bec Parsons //

It’s been busy times for Genesis Owusu.

Having recently wrapped up a tour with American hit-maker Aminé, he’s currently playing an extensive string of sold out shows alongside subling production duo Cosmo’s Midnight. Come September, he’ll also be showcasing his talents alongside some of the country’s best emerging talent at Bigsound. And yes, he’s just dropped a new single in ‘Awoman, Amen,’ what he describes as “a humble appreciation letter to all of womankind.” It’s honest, introspective and features some jazz-flavoured production from Simon Mavin and Perrin Moss of Hiatus Kaiyote.

With so much on his plate at the moment, we talk to Genesis Owusu about his latest single, the whirlwind year since his debut EP, and his self-care tips:

You’re currently on the road with Cosmo’s Midnight. How does it feel performing in front of new and broader audiences?

It’s always interesting playing in front of a new demographic. It’s cool because it’s a challenge for me to win the hearts of these people, and it can be a challenge for them because they have no idea what is happening when my goons come on stage screaming and yelling at them, before I break down into a smooth ass jazz crooner. It can be a challenge for them to listen to, understand or enjoy this music that they probably never would’ve gone out of their way to find; if it hadn’t been presented to them.

You’ve also just dropped a new single, ‘Awomen, Amen.’ What has the reception been like so far, and has the reaction surprised you at all?

The reception has been really positive so far, lots of love going around. I find myself in a state of perpetually being surprised and not surprised at the same time, just because I don’t really like going into things with any expectations either way; I just like to put my art out and let the world do what it wants from there.

You said that it’s “not a love song” and that you didn’t write it “to be the poster boy ‘male feminist.” Why did you find it important to make that distinction to your listeners?

I didn’t want people to think that the song wasn’t genuine and that I was pandering to things like the #MeToo movement for attention. I wrote this song during the same sessions that I wrote my last single, ‘Sideways’ early last year. While recent events and movements such as #MeToo helped to influence the release of the song, the creation of the track predates it – it just felt like something I needed to make at the time. I also said that I didn’t want to be the poster boy male feminist because I still slip, and I’ll probably still slip in the future. I don’t want to be some poster child while I’m still working on myself.

You recently celebrated one year since your debut Cardrive EP. You said that at the time you were going through depression, although you didn’t tell anyone about it. What stopped you from reaching out to others, and how would you like conversations around mental health to change?

I didn’t tell anyone because I didn’t want to be a burden, and I believed I could just get through it on my own. Luckily, I did, but I realised in retrospect how dangerous that line of thinking was, and how easily things could have fallen out of my control. Definitely would not recommend. The conversation needs to become much more open. Less eggshell-walking.

You also said that the concept for the EP came to you through a dream. Have any of your other creative outputs or life decisions been influenced by dreams?

Not really the same thing, but as a kid I always thought I was gonna be famous when I was older. Never knew how or why I’d become famous, I just always thought it. My primary school had this huge, towering tree in the middle of the oval, and I’d have this reoccurring dream where I’d be playing music up on this tall ass branch while everyone watched from the ground. In the dream I’d be singing, playing guitar and playing the drums with my feet.

How do you think you have changed, personally and musically, since the release of the EP?

I don’t know if I really have changed too much, everything’s just x10 now. Bigger and better, ya dig.

You’ll also be performing at Bigsound this year. Who are you keen to see there, and what can we expect from your set?

I heard this one song from Cable Ties, ‘Say What You Mean’ and now I’m really keen to see them. And KAIIT too, wow. And a shout out to the homies Moaning Lisa, Kwame, Triple One and MOOHKI. You can expect anything you want from my set I guess. Come see it and find out how close you were for yourself.

What’s on the cards for Genesis Owusu in 2018?

Drinking more water, exfoliating.

Words by Christopher Kevin Au July 12, 2018
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