In debut album, South African amapiano angel Tyla shines.

New York — Tyla grew up in Johannesburg, South Africa, practicing acceptance speeches in the mirror and dreaming of winning big awards. She discovered that dreams and reality are different.

I was not prepared at all,” chuckled Tyla, who overcame superstar nominees to win the first African Music Performance Grammy last month. “I said, ‘Hey, I did not write nothing’ on the way to the Grammys. Consider what might happen if I win. I wasn't thinking, just moving. I went with the flow that day. I felt like God was giving me comfort and saying, "Girl, you got it!" You know, relax. That was the day's energy."

Tyla, who released her self-titled first album last week, has received a lot of positive energy this year. The 22-year-old's lifelong goals were always bigger than her continent, huge as it is.

She's become one of the major voices popularizing African music because to the Cape Town-recorded "Water," a lightning-in-a-bottle hit that took the world by storm and won her the Grammy before her album was published. Tyla is introducing the globe to amapiano, which means “the pianos” in Zulu and is a mix of Kwaito house music and jazz driven by wood drumming. Afrobeats has gained popularity in recent years.

“I’m finally getting to do what I love and I have more opportunities,” the “ART” artist remarked of her busy year. “I’ve always wanted this job. I am passionate about promoting the culture and sharing what we have been creating in Africa for years with the globe.

Tyla's 14-track album of sensual sounds and vibey rhythms is ready for summer, even though spring has barely begun in America. The team combined amapiano with R&B and pop to create a unique sound with production from Sammy Soso, Mocha, Ari PenSmith, and Believve.

Not much effort went into creating the song. She knows what she wants," said Soso, who produced 10 tunes and collaborated with Wiz Kid, Oxlade, and KSI. Growing up as the ‘it’ girl, she realized her worth and desired treatment while going through various experiences. We kept creating tracks, thinking, "Let's touch on this feeling." Discuss the sentiment of composing music from real-life experiences.

Tyla stands out despite Becky G on “On My Body” and Gunna and Skillibeng on “Jump,” which she describes as “flexing on people” and not “really deep.” She dials up the amapiano heat with songs like “Safer,” “Truth or Dare,” and “No. 1,” a breathtaking collaboration with noted Nigerian singer-songwriter Tems, whom Tyla credits with helping this generation of African musicians crossover to America. But tracks like “Breath Me” show Tyla's range.

I think ‘Breathe Me’ best represents Tyla because it has all the African tones, she remarked. "I'm literally singing on that song, giving people vocals and emotion and all that." On “Priorities,” a pop song comparable to “No. 1,” Tyla laments, “My first mistake/Thinkin’ that I could be everything/Look how spreadin’ myself thin/Became my priority again.”

Priorities are something I wanted to remind myself of… According to the vocalist, who is influenced by Michael Jackson, Rihanna, and Britney Spears, the song is about always putting others before yourself and feeling like you need to please and (overcompensate). “Fear of disappointing others… My struggles are many. My condition has improved.

Tyla hopes listeners will like additional tracks like “Water”—the album features a Travis Scott remix—but she feels pressure. Her viral #WaterChallenge dance trended on TikTok and the song reached No. 7 on the Billboard Hot 100. She's worried about a U.S. app ban, but she doesn't know the details.

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