The atmosphere was bright and cheerful, with lively music playing and everyone dressed in torn clothing. Tyla created a refreshing pop vibe.

Estimated read time 5 min read


Yla may have a notable 4.3 million followers on Instagram, known as the Tygers, but she is still getting accustomed to the same level of fame in the real world. She was recently approached by Harry Daniels, a TikTok user who has a habit of serenading celebrities. Yla recalls, “He performed “Water”, my popular single, and even poured water on his head.”

She is currently in Los Angeles promoting her first self-titled album, which was released today. Despite being only 22 years old, Tyla has already received a Grammy for her hit song “Water” in the new category of Best African Music Performance. She also performed the song on Jimmy Fallon’s Tonight Show and it has charted in over 30 countries. As a South African musician, Tyla recognizes that this level of success is uncommon and she sees herself as paving the way for her country’s music industry. She believes that her performances have helped increase global awareness of South Africa and its culture.

“Water” is a song that blends together R&B, pop, and amapiano, a popular South African music genre that combines elements of house, kwaito, Zulu traditional rhythms, and jazz. The song’s sensual choreography has sparked numerous dance challenges on TikTok and solidified Tyla’s place in the world of pop music. Its success on the US charts, reaching No. 7, also marked a significant achievement for Tyla as the first South African solo artist to appear on the Billboard Hot 100 in over 55 years. “Amapiano’s global popularity is a huge milestone for South Africa as it is the first time our country has had a genre recognized on a global stage,” she reflects. “Not only does it benefit the creators, but it also brings positive attention to our nation as a whole.”

Say ‘yoh!’ … Tyla with her Grammy.

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There are few young pop artists who carry the responsibility of representing an entire country through their music, but that is exactly the case for South Africa at the moment. Amapiano, a music genre that has been around for about a decade, has gained global recognition, with popular stars like Drake showing their admiration for it. Drake has even collaborated with top amapiano producers like Kabza De Small and Black Coffee. Among this rising scene of innovative young electronic musicians, Tyla stands at the forefront.

Tyla Laura Seethal was born in Johannesburg in 2002 and was surrounded by the music of Aaliyah, Rihanna, and Adele throughout her childhood. She was particularly drawn to singing and often sang Adele’s “Someone Like You.” With a strong determination to become a singer, Tyla began sharing videos of her singing online. She made sure to post on various singing, competition, and social media apps in order to gain exposure and improve her skills.

Amid the bustling digital landscape, Tyla was able to create her debut single, titled “Getting Late,” which was made public in 2019, right after her graduation from high school. The unique mix of pop and piano sounds, which she has dubbed “popiano,” caught the attention of Epic Records and landed her a worldwide record deal. Following a series of single releases and collaborations, she collaborated with seasoned American producer Tricky Stewart (known for working with artists like Beyoncé and Britney Spears) on “Water,” released in July of last year, which reached No. 4 on the UK charts.

“I simply aimed to introduce people to the Tyla world,” she explains about the genesis of the song. “It’s a vibrant place, with lively music and people dressed in edgy clothing.” Tyla enhanced this vibe by first releasing a remix of Water with rapper Travis Scott, and then dropping her next single On and On, a soulful R&B track that will get you moving on the dance floor, while she suggests, “Let’s go back in time and party like it’s ’95”.

It took two years for Tyla to complete her debut album, collaborating with popular artists such as Tems, Gunna, Skillibeng, and Becky G. Throughout the process, she experienced personal growth and a heightened sense of openness. This was a new and exciting experience for her, traveling to America and Europe and collaborating with diverse individuals. Despite any uncertainties or potential criticism, Tyla sees value in trying and learning from the experience.

Thankfully, the album is filled with guaranteed future hits, although Tyla will have to delay her plans to bring them on tour. In early March, she declared that her upcoming global tour dates would have to be postponed due to a undisclosed injury – a matter she chooses not to disclose in detail, other than stating that she is not yet physically prepared for it. She firmly believes that her performances must include dancing – “it is an essential element to the music I create, specifically African music. However, this injury has opened up an opportunity for me to discover and incorporate other ways of performing.”

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Despite the obstacle, Tyla appears to be enjoying her position as the representative for South Africa’s emerging sound. “This is just the start of our journey,” she states. “We are finally living out what we’ve been envisioning for so long. I’m thrilled for all the future possibilities.”


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