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INTERVIEW: Jewel Owusu speaks on finding her passion for music and balancing her artistry

We spoke to Jewel Owusu about discovering her passion for songwriting and her new single dropping next month ‘American Honey’. Owusu reveals her top three artists and that her track ‘ur not my friend’ featuring Mali Jo$e was never supposed to be released.

Perth-based artist, songwriter and producer Jewel Owusu is making moves in the Australian music scene with her intoxicating fusion of alternative R&B, pop, and indie. Her unique musical texture, sweet-sounding voice and clever anecdotal lyricism make Owusu someone to keep an eye on as she continues to grow within the music industry.

“I’ve pretty much always been songwriting, but I guess I really started songwriting in school and I’ve always known I wanted to put music out. I never knew what to do with production and things like that, I’ve only started producing and co-producing now, but back then I didn’t really produce.”

Owusu says being through multiple lockdowns at the beginning of the Coronavirus pandemic turned into an opportunity for her to begin working on her music more. “It wasn’t until COVID happened when we were all in isolation that I thought maybe I should try to put more work into my music because I have more time. My friend Nat, who is the producer NAMESAKE, was also getting into production at this time, so we just started getting in the room together and working on songs together. That’s how it started. I was working with a family friend too who was helping me with production and recording as well.”

Owusu already had a Spotify profile at the time because of a friend’s song that she had appeared on. “I think ever since then I’ve been like, “I have a Spotify profile now, it would be cool to release something and not let it just sit here”. I’d say mid-2020 was when I started getting into recording and then at the end of 2020 was when I started doing more live stuff and with that came more of an audience and more drive to release music.”

In late February, Owusu released her single ‘ur not my friend’ featuring fellow Perth artist Mali Jo$e but reveals that she never originally planned to share the song with her listeners. “I had no intention of releasing ‘ur not my friend’, it was in the vault as a fun little song I wrote on a whim. I realised it would be cool to perform it live and see how it goes live and so I did it at my single launch last year for ‘Mixed Signals’ and then everyone came up to me after saying, “Oh my gosh, please tell me you’re going to release that song!” And I wasn’t planning on it, but enough people had made that comment so I might as well look at it and try release it. We ended up working on it some more and I was like, “Yeah, I really like this song”.”

Last year, Jewel Owusu graduated university with a double degree majoring in journalism for her communications bachelor and marketing and public relations for her commerce bachelor. “I’m trying to pursue what I studied as well as music. I feel like the whole drive with studying a business degree was because of all my creative passion, like music and I also like visual art, so for all of those you need business skills and marketing skills. I would love to work part time in this space alongside music.”

Pursuing a career in music is something Owusu says she would love to be successful with. “I would love to make this into a career, that is the goal. That would be the dream.”

Like most artists, Owusu’s music journey has had both its challenges and wins. “My experience with music so far has been mostly good, I don’t have much to complain about and I don’t really want to complain because I’m so grateful. I feel like, as I was saying before with the mental health stuff, it is actually really taxing especially being independent and it’s taxing financially. There have been a few bad days, but other than that I’m grateful for the opportunities and experiences.”

The Perth artist has another single dropping in mid-May named ‘American Honey’. “I had a lot of demos I was choosing from and there are some collaborations in the works, but I’ve decided not to release a collab for this one and do a song on my own. It’s very ethereal and pop and kind of R&B with a kind of trap style at the end. It’s just like…I don’t even know how to describe it! It’s a roller-coaster pretty much. I’ve been working on some of the production for this one, and Dylan Guy is co-producing it with me. I’m excited for it.”

Owusu says she’s going to continue dropping singles during the rest this year and she aims to release an EP in 2023.

We asked Owusu to name three artists who influence her music and inspire her to keep striving to achieve her goals. “As many people do, I listen to so many genres and so many artists, but I’d say my top three are Raven Lenae – I love her, she just has one of the best voices that I’ve ever heard and there’s not a single song by her that I haven’t liked. She’s amazing. I really like Smino as well. Once again, not a single song by him that I haven’t liked. And this guy named Emawk who I feel like is just doing a really good job at fusing indie with R&B and electronic as well as pop. I just really look up to him as a songwriter and his music makes me so happy. I’d say those three, but there’s just so many people! I’m sure I’ve missed someone that I really really like that I listen to all the time that I can’t think of right now.”

Jewel Owusu fans should be thrilled to know she has an array of music in the works and live performances in store for the near future. Her single ‘Be’ is dropping this Friday exclusively on SoundCloud and YouTube Music, followed by her track ‘American Honey’ which will be dropping next month.

Words by Liv Declerck (@livdaangel)

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