South Africa: Grammys - About South Africa's Tyla, Who Defeated Davido, Burna Boy

Tyla performs at South Africa's Hey Neighbour Festival (file photo)
5 February 2024

Many Nigerians are wondering who is this South African singer who edged out Nigerian superstars at the Grammy.

On Sunday, the South African singer Tyla emerged victorious at the Grammys 2024, clinching the inaugural Best African Music Performance award for her viral song "Water".

Facing fierce competition from Nigerian heavyweights like Davido, Arya Starr, and Burna Boy, Tyla's victory has stirred controversy among Nigerians, who expressed their dissatisfaction on social media.

They have been questioning the emergence of this relatively unknown South African singer on the Grammys stage.

Many Nigerians wonder who this South African singer who edged out Nigerian superstars at the Grammy is.

This historic win not only places Tyla in the spotlight but also makes her one of the youngest African artistes to clinch a Grammy at 22.


Born and raised in Johannesburg, South Africa, Tyla, also known as Tyla Laura, gained recognition following the domestic success of her 2019 debut single, "Getting Late," featuring Kooldrink.

Tyla's captivating performances on TikTok have played a pivotal role in propelling her to stardom.

Her international breakthrough came in 2023 with the release of "Water," a single that soared into the top ten charts in 16 countries, including the United Kingdom and the United States.

"Water" secured Tyla's place in history as the first South African soloist in 55 years to enter the U.S. Billboard Hot 100, ultimately earning her the Grammy Award for Best African Music Performance in 2024.

Tyla's journey into the music industry began after graduating from Edenglen High School in 2019, where she served as the school's Head of Culture.

Her early efforts involved posting original songs and covers on Instagram, catching the attention of her first manager, Garth von Glehn, who facilitated her initial recording sessions.

Her public debut occurred in 2023 at the Dolce & Gabbana afterparty during Milan Fashion Week, following the release of her single "Been Thinking." Tyla later joined Chris Brown as the opening act for his Under the Influence Tour.

In December 2023, she announced the upcoming release of her debut studio album, "Tyla" (2024), dropping three promotional singles: "Truth or Dare," "On and On," and "Butterflies."

Tyla's versatility was further highlighted when she collaborated with Nigerian singer Ayra Starr on the single "Girl Next Door" in May 2023. Her commitment to music led her to leave behind a pursuit of a mining engineering degree.


Tyla, who signed to Epic Records in 2021, released "Water" as the lead single from her upcoming debut album.

Released on July 28, 2023, through Fax and Epic Records, "Water" showcased Tyla's musical prowess and garnered attention globally.

"Water" was produced by British record producer Sammy Soso

The official music video for "Water" premiered on YouTube on 6 October 2023, where it accumulated three million views in three days.

The track's remix versions featured American rapper Travis Scott and renowned record producer Marshmello, released on 17 November 2023.

In October 2023, "Water" entered the Billboard Hot 100 at number 67 and became the first solo song by a South African musician to appear on the chart since Hugh Masekela's "Grazing in the Grass" in 1968.

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