Tyla, South Africa’s amapiano sensation, shines brilliantly in her debut album

Tyla Portrait Session

Tyla, who recently made history by winning the inaugural Grammy for African music performance, has just released her highly anticipated self-titled debut album.

Tyla grew up in Johannesburg, South Africa, practicing acceptance speeches in front of the mirror, imagining herself on the grandest award stages. However, as she discovered, dreaming is one thing, but reality is another.

“I was not prepared at all,” laughed Tyla, reflecting on her unexpected victory in the inaugural African Music Performance Grammy last month, where she triumphed over established superstar nominees. “On the way to the Grammys, I was like, ‘Hey, I did not write anything. Let me think of some things in case I win.’ But I don’t know, I was just moving. I was going with the flow that day. And I feel like God was just giving me peace and letting me know that, ‘Girl, you got it! Like, relax.’ So, that was kind of the energy of the day.”

Over the past year, Tyla has been surrounded by an abundance of positive energy, culminating in the release of her self-titled debut album last week. This album represents the fulfillment of lifelong aspirations for the 22-year-old, whose ambitions have always reached beyond her continent, vast as it is.

Fueled by the Cape Town-recorded hit “Water,” a phenomenal success that captivated the world and earned her a Grammy even before her album dropped, Tyla has swiftly emerged as a prominent figure in popularizing African music. With Afrobeats gaining massive attention in recent years, Tyla is now introducing a global audience to amapiano, meaning “the pianos” in Zulu—a genre that blends Kwaito house music and jazz, often characterized by its distinctive log drum sound.

“I’m finally getting to do what I love and I have more opportunities,” the “ART” artist reflected on her whirlwind year. “I’ve always wanted to be in this position, to push the culture and showcase what we’ve been creating in Africa for so many years. Now, it’s time to expand and share it with the rest of the world.

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