Crafting a wholly intoxicating style, Immy Owusu is without a doubt an artist to watch in 2023

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Crafting a wholly intoxicating style, Immy Owusu is without a doubt an artist to watch in 2023

Press image by Josh De Hoog.
Words by Staff Writer

Immy Owusu launches his dreamy new single Flashback, where spacious cinematic psych meets pulsing Afro disco.

Surf Coast-bred multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Immy Owusu has been making waves over the last couple of years with his utterly contagious personality, impressive musical abilities and electric brand of ‘Afrodelik’ fusion.

Growing up in two worlds, the sea-bleached lifestyle of Torquay and the Surf Coast with its rock n roll soundtrack, and the musical heritage of his Ghanaian / Dutch family, Owusu has reintroduced himself through a colourful and striking new music direction. 

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Building on his signature African psychedelic rock foundations, Owusu emerges more confident than ever in his ‘Afrodelik’ and ‘lo-fi highlife’ approach to music, a sound that spans psychedelic rock, funk and West African roots. 

“Lo-fi refers to me coming from a bit of like a lo-fi psych background with a lot of my earlier stuff and since I’ve been working with a band, we’ve been getting into a lot of high-life music, which is this West African style of music that has a lot of percussion and a lot of groovy things,” Owusu explains. “So we’ve been calling it lo-fi highlife.” 

A synthesis of his Ghanaian roots and his family’s musical traditions with his own explorations as a 21st-century troubadour in the vein of Rodriguez or Mano Chao, Owusu has captured the magic of lo-fi highlife with his dreamy new single ‘Flashback’, where spacious cinematic psych meets pulsing Afro disco. 

Released on 30 March through Hopestreet Recordings, ‘Flashback’ is the first single lifted from Owusu’s forthcoming debut album due later in 2023.

“I’ve been chipping away on this new LP that’s coming out this year for just over a year and a half so it’s very exciting,” Owusu explains, “and this was the first demo I ever made way back in the day, about seven years ago. So it’s also fitting that it’s the first single off this LP.

“My mum put on this house concert in Torquay with Moussa Diakite, this awesome Malian guitarist from Sydney who used to play with Salif Keita in the 90s. In an impromptu guitar lesson in the lounge room, he taught me this really cool Malian guitar scale. I first wrote ‘Flashback’ as a way to practice that scale. I used to walk my dogs down on Spring Creek in Torquay playing this song on uke. So when they heard ‘Flashback’ they knew it was time for a walk.”

You can sense a quality within this textured offering, which can be credited to its live-tracking with an all-star band, featuring members of Surprise Chef and Karate Boogaloo as well as some of Australia’s most accomplished Ghanaian musicians. 

Across the soothing four-minute track, Owusu’s voice is resonant and commanding and the hypnotic refrain “maybe I should have listened” takes us away to an ethereal dimension while the band weaves its magic around him. Owusu’s delicate fingerpicked electric guitar dances around Lachlan Stuckey’s hypnotic riff on the second guitar while Henry Jenkins’ pulsing bass and Julius Sackey’s deft drums sit in the perfect pocket. 

Jethro Curtin’s quirky mono synth leads take center stage when Owusu isn’t leading and Kojo Noah Owusu, Immy’s father and one of Australia’s best-regarded West African musicians, blesses the sessions with Kpanlogo drum rhythms and a rambunctious talking drum overdub that interjects and comments throughout. The final touch is provided by delicate backing vocals by Kuukua Acquah, Pia Nesvara and Izzy Adjei.

Proving something of a breakout for the artist, this latest offering from Owusu marks the first time collaborating with his renowned father on music. 

“My dad never wanted me to be a musician at all. He like toured the world with my grandpa [Koo Nimo – a legend of Ghanaian Highlife and Palm Wine music] back in the day,” Owusu shares. “But I think the music was probably a bit too strong. I didn’t think I’d pursue it as a career, but I went on tour with one of my bands when I was 19 and then when I got back I was like, ‘this is what I want to do’. He’s settled on it with me now and we’ve really grown close together working together.”


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The latest release from Owusu follows previous singles ‘Mantra’ and ‘Brown Supremacy’, tracks spawned from the 20-21 lockdowns where Owusu holed himself up in a caravan deep within a bush property out the back of Bells Beach, took up surfing and wrote songs with Liam McGorry of Ex-Olympian/Dorsal Fins. 

With the raw depths of his fast-rising talent well and truly on show, and a debut album primed to be shared with the world, Immy Owusu seems poised to take 2023 by storm. 

To witness the raw energy and radiant outpouring of ‘Afrodelik’ and ‘lo-fi highlife’ passion, catch Immy Owusu and his new band at his residency at Shotkickers every Wednesday in April.

‘Flashback’ is out now Hopestreet Recordings.