Genesis Owusu, The Kid Laroi win big at 2021 ARIA Awards

The ARIA Awards took place last night, as a streaming-only broadcast, celebrating Australia’s biggest and best in music right now.

The Aus music industry has collectively endured so much over the last couple of years, so last night’s ARIA Awards was a much-needed celebration of our homegrown acts.

With big wins from Genesis Owusu, and The Kid Laroi, the night was a triumph for hip-hop/RnB’s newest generation.

The Kid Laroi via Facebook

“I am who I am because of hip hop.” said Genesis Owusu in his acceptance speech.

Genesis Owusu, at only 23 years old, dominated last night, taking home four ARIA Awards. The Ghanian-Australian beat out Amy Shark, Midnight Oil, Tones & I, and The Avalanches, for Album of the Year.

Smiling With No Teeth, Owusu’s debut album, also won him Best Cover Art, Best Hip-Hop Release, and Best Independent Release.

The album is a divine expression of groove and funk, that pushes genre boundaries and challenges themes of racism, mental health, and the complexities of relationships.

Owusu also owned the ARIA Awards night with an electric performance of his latest hits. There was also a lovely live performance from Amy Shark of her hit Love Songs Ain’t for Us.

Song of the Year went to indie-rock favourite’s Spacey Jane, with last year’s Triple J hottest 100 winning single, Booster Seat. The Perth band are reigning over the scene right now.

The Kid Laroi has garnered international success over the last year, releasing mega-hits with the likes of Justin Bieber. After cleaning up at the National Indigenous Music Awards a few weeks ago, he’s now taken home Best Artist at last night’s ARIA Awards.

In an ARIA first, this year’s Best Artist award was a gender-neutral category – finally, none of that exclusive best female, best male business. We love to see it.

Other ARIA Award winners included RÜFÜS DU SOL for Best Group, Budjerah took home the Michael Gudinski Breakthrough Artist, and Middle Kid’s, who won Best Rock Album for Today We are the Greatest.

Budjerah at the ARIA’s Photograph: Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images

Hosted by Brooke Boney, this year’s ARIA Awards were presented as a streaming-only broadcast. Boney hosted from a harbour-side platform at Taronga Zoo, to a limited crowd who were, unfortunately, bringing very little energy.

Although an improvement from the Covid induced, crowd-less event of last year, you can’t help but feel like after everything that the music industry went through over the last couple of years, that our best artists deserve a little more, as we begin to emerge from the wreck.

Despite the lack of crowd enthusiasm, it was still an exciting night showcasing and celebrating Australia’s tapestry of diverse musical talent.

Check out the list of winner’s below:

2021 ARIA Winners

Album of the Year – Smiling With No Teeth, Genesis Owusu
Song of the Year – Booster Seat, Spacey Jane
Best Artist – Stay (With Justin Bieber), The Kid Laroi
Best Group – Alive, RÜFÜS DU SOL
Michael Gudinski Breakthrough Artist -Budjerah (EP), Budjerah
Best Independent Release – Smiling With No Teeth, Genesis Owusu
Best Adult Contemporary Album – Dreamers are Waiting, Crowded House
Best Blues & Roots Album – The Songs Of Charcoal Lane, Archie Roach
Best Children’s Album – Bluey The Album, Bluey
Best Country Album – The World Today, Troy Cassar-Daley
Best Dance Release – Alive, RÜFÜS DU SOL
Best Pop Release – Stay (with Justin Bieber), The Kid LAROI
Best Hard Rock/Heavy Metal Album – Deep States, Tropical F**k Storm
And more, suss the full list here