With an undying passion for music that rippled throughout his family starting with his mother, Valletta’s Fresh Prince was destined for greatness from the start. It was merely a matter of finding the right time and opportunity to showcase his talents in a country that had largely overlooked him and his chosen music genre.
This is the story of Owen Leuellen.
Music has always been a part of Owen’s life. From his early days listening to his brother’s cassette tapes in his room, Owen quickly became immersed and fascinated with a world of music that hadn’t quite reached Malta yet; hip hop.
At just eight years old, a driven Owen began to rap, taking inspiration from hip hop idols including Biggie Smalls, Snoop Dog, D12 and most importantly his all-time favourite, Detroit’s finest, Eminem.
Owen gravitated towards the Rap God through a mutual connection he made with the rapper’s lyrics and related to his troubled past… something he had gone through himself, even though he isn’t at a stage in his career where he’s ready to open up about it.
And like every other kid who grew up in the Noughties, one of Leuellen’s early musica ventures began with a half-decent beatbox to Michael Jackson’s Billie Jean…
Thus, the Fresh Prince of Valletta set the wheels of destiny in motion.
What began as scribbles of Eminem lyrics on a piece of paper quickly turned into rapping, before evolving into Owen writing original material.
Although the young rapper found it challenging, he was slowly but surely getting better and better, and with every song he released, his rhymes got more rhythmic and his flow got more fluid, eventually leading to a few of his own releases…
Hip hop had a firm grip on Leuellen, who found himself writing nonstop; whether he was at home, at school, or at work, nothing was going to get in the way of the young Maltese rapper and a good rhyme.
That’s why when X Factor came around in 2018, Owen knew that this was his opportunity to take what he had honed in on for so many years to the next level and turn his dream and passion into a full-time reality…
A nervous Owen Leuellen took his chances at an audition where he bravely performed one of his original songs to the four judges…
… resulting in four unequivocal yeses.
Leuellen quickly became a fan favourite on the show, making it all the way to the finals with relative ease thanks to his contagious personality and talented musical abilities. The island was behind him, and week after week, he was not backing down.
He gave Malta some memorable live performances, including renditions of a track from Fresh Prince and a hip hop classic, Gangsta’s Paradise.
But without a doubt, the most memorable and successful performance of Leuellen’s time on X Factor was his rendition of Ira Losco’s ‘Hey Now’, which he enhanced with his bars and rhymes, showing the world that he has what it takes to run with the big dogs.
From then on, Hey Now would never be the same again.
The performance received over one million views on YouTube and, despite falling to second place by the end of X Factor, Leuellen had carved his place in local hip hop culture and projected the often-overlooked genre into Malta’s mainstream.
It had happened; Owen had captured Malta’s attention.
Since his rise to prominence on X-Factor, the young 21-year-old rapper has gone to perform all over Malta, making appearances at everything from Isle Of MTV to Radio Italia.
Now, he’ll be able to add the Lovin Music Awards to that list too.
The Fresh Prince will make an appearance at the LMAs not only as a performer ,but as also as a nominee for three awards; Best Upcoming Male Artist, Best Song and Best Collab (thanks to that Hey Now remix).
Catch him – along with 14 other great musical acts – live on October 19th and see how far the young boy from Valletta has come in his musical career and why he’s considered to be the hottest thing in music today.