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Tyla: The Amapiano Sensation Behind Explosive Hit ‘Water’

Born and raised in South Africa, singer-songwriter Tyla is one of 2023’s breakout stars, penning the global smash hit “Water.” At the mere age of 21, Tyla has acquired a top ten hit in the UK, becoming the first South African soloist song to enter the US Billboard Hot 100 in 55 years.

Born and raised in South Africa, singer-songwriter Tyla is one of 2023’s breakout stars, penning the global smash hit “Water.”
@Tyllaaaaaaa Via Twitter.

Tyla’s Rise To Fame

Intended to be a summer smash, “Water” came out on July 28, but did not gain virality until September. TikTok was the engine that drove this sensual banger, beginning with a dance challenge curated by Tyla’s choreographer, Litchi. The mega banger hit the ground running thanks to the viral dance. Now, Tyla is rapidly becoming a household name. 

After graduating from Edenglen High School in 2019, the Johannesburg native would upload her original songs and covers to Instagram. Tyla also reached out to music executives via email hoping for them to notice her talents. Her initial manager stumbled upon her work and would later organize her first recording sessions. Tyla’s debut single, “Getting Late,” produced by Kooldrink, saw the singer exploring the subgenre of Amapiano. The track was an instant success and was nominated for Music Video of the Year at the 2022 South African Music Awards. Additionally, Epic Records would sign the blossoming star in 2021. 

Following the stamp of approval from a major record label, Tyla continued to devote herself to her craft. Unveiling the singles “To Last” and “Overdue,” Tyla would then collaborate with Nigerian singer Ayra Starr for “Girl Next Door.” Then, the South African vocalist would release her most viral song to date, “Water.” 

The explosive hit single was due for a remix in November. And so, on the 17th, Tyla released the “Water” remix with Travis Scott. The featured artist sparked mixed reviews as people envisioned the singer on the remix. 

The South African Musical Genre Amapiano

Nonetheless, Tyla’s audience is still anticipating what’s to come for the young musician. Tyla’s charm and grace are captivating the world right now. Her silvery-toned vocals and entrancing melodies are pleasing to the ear. Although, it is Tyla’s live performances of “Water” that prove she is here to stay—showcasing her powerful range and natural-born stage presence.

Importantly, she is taking the industry by storm by topping the charts with an Amapiano song. Translating to “the pianos,” Amapiano went global in 2020 thanks to TikTok. Characterized by house, tongue drum basslines and piano melodies, the roots of Amapiano are traced to South Africa. The sound has been celebrated for years in South Africa, while the TikTok dance challenges introduced the genre to a wider audience.

Yuvir Pillay, music operations manager at TikTok South Africa states, “We noticed a lot of our youths at the end of 2019 starting to use Amapiano music to create their food videos, their dance videos, their fashion videos, memes. And we really saw people embracing the genre and wanting to engage with it.”

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