South African Musician Tyla Releases Eponymous Album ‘Tyla’

Though the megaviral 2023 single “Water” may have put the South African singer-songwriter on the proverbial map—first as a social media sensation, then as the highest-charting African female soloist ever on Billboard’s Hot 100, earning her the inaugural Grammy Award for Best African Music Performance—she’s been carefully plotting her path to the top for years. “Since I started experimenting with amapiano, I just feel like it’s really helped me get to this point where I created something that is fresh and new, but still familiar and comes from home,” she says. “It’s a sound of Africa, and it’s something that I couldn’t be more proud about.”

She weaves through a blend of pop, R&B, amapiano and Afrobeats (“pop-piano sounds cute,” she admits) across TYLA, a coming-of-age chronicle through love, heartbreak and self-discovery. “I’m speaking about the things that I’ve gone through while creating the album—basically three years in the making,” she explains. “I was becoming a woman. So it was a lot of growing that happened, and me realising my worth, and realising how I want to be treated—and how basically, I’m that girl, and people need to know I’m that girl.”

While the project was brought to life with the help of global producers including Sammy Soso, Mocha, Believve, Rayo and Sir Nolan, Tyla made sure they all had a taste of her homeland. “[It was important] to bring some to South Africa,” she explains, “so when we get in the studio, they have context. Some people that try amapiano sound so watered down, it’s cringey. So even though I am mixing it with pop and R&B, I didn’t want it to sound watered down. Music is our everything in Africa. The way we speak, the way we dance, literally, our dance moves—they come so naturally. It’s just in us. It’s our essence.”

The album ‘TYLA’ is a 14 track-list body of work with star-studded collaborations with Gunna, Travis Scott, Becky G, Skillibeng and Kelvin Momo.

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