Fresh off Grammy success, South African star Tyla releases debut album

By Thomson Reuters Mar 22, 2024 | 7:57 AM

By Alicia Powell

NEW YORK (Reuters) – South African singer-songwriter Tyla releases her self-titled debut album on Friday, fresh off her win at the Grammy Awards last month.

The 22-year-old found success last year, reaching the top 10 on the U.S. Billboard’s Hot 100 chart and top 5 in Britain with amapiano hit “Water”, a genre fusing house, jazz and log drums that emerged in South Africa.

She describes the 15-track “TYLA”, which features collaborations with the likes of U.S. rapper Travis Scott and Nigerian singer Tems, as “a melting pot of all the influences” she had growing up.

“Pop, R&B and then obviously amapiano and Afrobeats because that’s where I’m from, that’s the sounds of home,” Tyla told Reuters.

“I’ve always just wanted to mix it all together, and I’ve gotten to a place where I’m happy with the way it sounds.”

Last month, Tyla won the inaugural best African music performance award at the Grammys, the music industry’s top honours.

“It’s literally so crazy … every day I have to remind myself that that actually happened and that it’s real,” she said.

The Grammy prize reflects the growing popularity of Afrobeats, and other music from the continent, which is gaining a global audience with help from social media platforms such as TikTok.

Tyla’s song “Water”, which was released in July, enjoyed huge success thanks to the app, with TikTok users around the world sharing videos of themselves replicating her dance moves using the #WaterChallenge hashtag.

“I’ve been vibing to amapiano, a lot of us have been in Africa for a very long time, and it’s really cool that other people are now catching on and enjoying it, because South Africa didn’t really have a genre that crossed over this hugely,” Tyla said.

Last week, Tyla shared a video of herself and BLACKPINK singer and rapper Lisa listening to “TYLA”. Asked if she planned a collaboration with the K-pop star, Tyla said: “We’ve been speaking about making a song together, so yes, for sure.”

(Reporting by Alicia Powell; Writing by Marie-Louise Gumuchian; Editing by Alison Williams)