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News March 10, 2022

Genesis Owusu wins 2021 Vanda & Young Global Songwriting Competition

Senior Journalist, B2B
Genesis Owusu wins 2021 Vanda & Young Global Songwriting Competition

Genesis Owusu extends his searing-hot streak, as ‘Gold Chains’ takes out first-place in the 2021 Vanda & Young Global Songwriting Competition.

With his latest triumph, Owusu scores the $50,000 winner’s cheque, courtesy of APRA AMCOS, Alberts and Sony Music Publishing.

The contest, named after legendary songwriters and founding members of The Easybeats, Harry Vanda and the late George Young, is one of the most prestigious songwriting competitions on the planet. And its cash prizes make it one of the most lucrative.

The winning song, explains Genesis in a statement, was “inspired by life, the music industry and the reality of certain situations compared to outside misconceptions of them,” and was co-written with Ourness founder Andrew Klippel, Kieran J Callinan, Michael Di Francesco and Julian Sudek.

‘Gold Chains’ made Barack Obama’s year-end playlist and appears on Owusu’s Smiling with No Teeth, a modern classic that has triggered a gold rush for the funk master.

There are few trophies No Teeth hasn’t snagged.

Just last week, the LP collected the 17th annual Australian Music Prize, and, earlier, the J Award for Australian album of the year. Owusu cleaned up at the 2021 ARIA Awards, where he took home four pointed trophies, including Album of the Year.

Owusu made international headlines last week when, during a performance at the Enmore Theatre in Sydney, he made the earth move.

Second place in the Vanda & Young contest goes to Melbourne artist and songwriter Jerome Farah for ‘Mikey Might’, who collects a $10,000 cash prize thanks to Banki Haddock Fiora.

Rising Sydney singer and songwriter MAY-A nabs third place with ‘Time I Love to Waste’, co-written with Robby De Sa and Christian Lo Russo. The honour comes with $5,000, courtesy of Aon.

Hip-hop hero and 2019 Young Australian of the Year Baker Boy (real name Danzal Baker) is also a winner in the songwriting comp, his single ‘Move’ winning the $5,000 AMPAL Emerging Songwriter Prize, provided by Australasian Music Publishers Association Limited (AMPAL).

The unpublished songwriter and artist co-wrote ‘Move’ with Dallas Woods, James Iheakanwa and Willie Tafa.

As previously reported, ten “Honourable Mention” winners collect a consolation prize of $1,000, courtesy of an anonymous donor “wishing to help songwriters during the pandemic,” according to a statement from organisers.

Songs by Gang of Youths, Amyl and The Sniffers and Miiesha are among the recipients. 

All the winners were selected from a Top 40, whittled-down from a total of 3,837 songs from 64 countries, with the entry process raising $192,000 for good causes.

Each song entry carries with it a $50 fee, with 100% of that sum benefiting the services of Noro Music Therapy.

Since launching in 2009, these songs have contributed nearly $1.6 million in entry fees, including this round, which helped the organisation move into a new space.

GO joins previous winners of the prize, which includes Thelma Plum (2020), Matt Corby and Dann Hume (2019), Amy Shark (2018), Gretta Ray (2016), Husky Gawenda (2014), Isabella Manfredi (2013), Kimbra (2011) and Megan Washington (2009), and others.

The judging panel this time included a mix of artists, producers, media and music industry professionals, including KLP, Jenny Morris, Anna Lunoe and employees from Double J, The Industry Observer, Billboard, reps from the three majors, and Jaxsta, which this year helped promote the competition to its worldwide network of songwriters and music creators.

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