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Gongs for the boys at male-dominated ARIAs

Hip-hop artist Genesis Owusu has claimed four ARIAs, including Album of the Year, at the 2021 music awards.

The singer and rapper collected trophies on Wednesday including Best Hip Hop Release and Best Independent Release for his title Smiling With No Teeth. And, along with Bailey Howard, he also received the ARIA for Best Cover Art.

“I used to get side-eyed a lot when I was younger for the way I dressed and the things I did,” he said at the award ceremony.

“But all the people I loved and respected always stood firm, immovable, unshakeable, because we knew the power in all we were and what we created.”

Baby-faced rapper The Kid Laroi was named Best Artist.

The 18-year-old Sydneysider also scored Best Pop Release for his three-time-platinum single, Stay.

“A big shout out to my brother Justin Bieber for being a part of this record and helping me make it so special,” he said after claiming the award.

The kid Laroi and Owusu were among a male-dominated winners list for the 2021 awards.

From a total of 27 categories, the only local solo female artist to pick up an ARIA was Zimbabwean-born Australian singer-songwriter and rapper Tkay Maidza, who took out Best Soul/R&B Release for her EP Last Year Was Weird, Vol. 3.

Grammy-nominated dance music trio Rufus Du Sol won in both their nominated categories, Best Dance Release and Best Group, for single Alive.

Song of the Year was given to Booster Seat by Spacey Jane, which boasts a female bass player, Peppa Lane, alongside lead singer and guitarist Caleb Harper, drummer Kieran Lama and guitarist Ashton Hardman-Le Cornu.

Best Video went to Vance Joy’s Missing Piece, directed by Annelise Hickey.

Aboriginal singer-songwriter Budjerah was named Michael Gudinski Breakthrough Artist for his eponymous debut EP, with Ed Sheeran announcing the award by video and paying tribute to the late Gudinski, founder of Mushroom Records.

Troy Cassar-Daley won Best Country Album, his fifth, for The World Today, while Archie Roach, inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame in 2020, was honoured with Best Blues & Roots Album for The Songs of Charcoal Lane.

Elsewhere, Best Australian Live Act went to Oli and Louis Leimbach’s Lime Cordiale for their 2021 Relapse Tour, and Crowded House scored Best Adult Contemporary Album for Dreamers Are Waiting.

Tropical F**k Storm, made up of Gareth Liddiard and Fiona Kitschin from The Drones as well as Lauren Hammel and Erica Dunn, won Best Hard Rock/Heavy Metal Album for Deep States.

Indie rock outfit Middle Kids, which comprises lead singer and multi-instrumentalist Hannah Joy, bassist Tim Fitz and drummer Harry Day, took out Best Rock Album for Today We’re The Greatest.

Sonorous siblings Angus and Julia Stone collected the award for Best Original Soundtrack or Musical Theatre Cast Album for the video game Life Is Strange: True Colors.

As Australia emerges from COVID-19 restrictions, ARIA organisers pivoted from the traditional red carpet to a live audience of fur, feathers and fins, with the event live-streamed from Sydney’s Taronga Zoo.

There were performances by nominees Amy Shark, Genesis Owusu, Rufus Du Sol, Gretta Ray and Budjerah.

What do zoo animals have to do with music?

Perhaps someone saw Amy Shark’s name and had a lightbulb moment. (Was Sydney Aquarium unavailable?)

In the end, neither Shark (six nominations) nor Ray (one nomination) landed a trophy.

Taylor Swift was named Most Popular International Artist following 2020’s Evermore, a category she previously won in 2019.

Recorder virtuoso Genevieve Lacey and harpist Marshall McGuire nabbed Best Classical Album for Bower.


* Best Artist: The Kid Laroi, Stay

* Best Group: Rufus Du Sol, Alive

* Michael Gudinski Breakthrough Artist: Budjerah, Budjerah

* Album Of The Year: Genesis Owusu, Smiling With No Teeth

* Song of the Year: Spacey Jane, Booster Seat

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