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'I'm so proud of South Africa and our music' — Tyla on her journey to international success

'I'm proud and happy that I can be an example for other African girls and guys. South Africa, it's our time to shine'

Tyla, winner of the 'African Music Performance' award for 'Water' attends the 66th Grammy Awards at the Peacock Theater on February 4 2024 in Los Angeles, California.
Tyla, winner of the 'African Music Performance' award for 'Water' attends the 66th Grammy Awards at the Peacock Theater on February 4 2024 in Los Angeles, California.
Image: Emma McIntyre

Tyla bagged the Best African Music Performance award for her song Water at the 2024 Grammy Awards, and while she was stunned to achieve the milestone at 22 years of age, she has been preparing all her life to get to where she is.  

“I was trying everything that has to do with the entertainment industry. I love acting, modelling, singing and dancing. I love it all. So everything I did was to try different things to break into the industry,” she told TshisaLIVE. 

From a young age, Tyla sang with her siblings, which later led to her sharing covers on Instagram before catching the attention of her manager and creative director Garth Von Glehn, who got her to record music. 

Tyla's hunger for the showbiz life went as far as her being an extra in music videos while juggling her academic studies. 

“School is important, it’s the foundation. Though I didn’t study further after high school I made sure to finish high school. If you have other things you want to do, you are able to balance it. I’ve done it, a lot of people have done it.

“With the Mafikizolo thing, it was to be visible, I wanted people to see me so they could be brought into my world.”

Her commitment to her studies and music showed when she finished high school with flying colours and her first song Getting Late got her recognised in the music scene. 

In 2021 Tyla signed with US label Epic Records and has since been making strides in the entertainment industry. 

Her list of achievements include joining Chris Brown on his European tour which started in London on February 14 2023 and ended in Paris on March 26.

The success of Water gained the attention of renowned stars, including rapper Travis Scott and producer Marshmello, who remixed the hit. 

“Initially I didn't want to remix Water because I thought the song is so strong and it just keeps getting bigger and bigger, but then my label said Travis wants to do a remix and I was, like, send him the files. 

“All he could say was the song is crazy, the sound is new and it's amazing. People don't know it's South African, it's amapiano, it's log drum. I feel the sound is going to take the world by storm.”

Having shot to fame with her amapiano-infused pop music, Tyla said she is yet to show her versatility with her upcoming album. 

“Everything happening is crazy and I'm proud of South Africa and our music. People are loving us. I'm so happy. It still doesn't feel real. I'm just a girl from South Africa, Joburg. Every day something new happens and I just have to thank God.

“The response has been amazing. I'm proud and happy that I can be an example for other African girls and guys. South Africa, it's our time to shine.”



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