With her sprawling, innovative lyrics about the allure of new romance, love and self-confidence, South African singer Tyla has invented herself as an artist with the power to navigate the boundaries of several music genres. For the month of March, music streaming platform Spotify has announced Tyla as its EQUAL Africa ambassador.
Her music is all good vibes, slathered in Pop, R&B and Afrobeats while hinging on South Africa’s Amapiano. Since breaking out in the music scene in 2019, Tyla has become a force guided by her intention to leave a mark in music.
Tyla’s journey into music began with writing song lyrics in her diary at 12. She describes music as “her calling”, something “that came naturally”. She first gained recognition when she dropped the Amapiano dance-themed song Getting late. Tyla understands the demands of new-age artistry, but intuition and intention fuel her craft as she works towards her debut album.
She joins fellow South Africans Sio and Elaine who have previously headlined the programme. EQUAL Africa seeks to spotlight and amplify the voices of African female artists breaking down barriers and making waves in music. In addition, it amplifies their music by exposing their catalogue to global listenership.
“It is satisfying to be selected for the EQUAL programme, joining other incredible female creators on the continent. This just goes to show that there is room for all of us to shine, regardless of what sounds and genres we identify with,” says Tyla.
‘We are inspired by Tyla’s versatility and her drive to achieve more in the music scene and we welcome her to the EQUAL programme. It is our hope that other young African women creators see this as proof that their talent is valid and can and will be recognised and supported,” says Spotify’s head of music for Sub-Saharan Africa, Phiona Okumu.
What is that one surprising thing your fans might not know about you?
A lot of people are surprised when I tell them I have four siblings.
When did you realise that making music was in your destiny and what is your WHY for pursuing this craft?
I feel my love for music came naturally. Ever since I could remember it was a part of my life and interests. I knew at a very young age that this was my calling.
Which African songs or artists did you grow up listening to?
Brenda Fassie, Freshlyground, Mi Casa. I remember loving the song Destiny by Malaika
To someone who has never heard your music, how would you describe the sound, tone, and style?
I would describe it as a fusion between R&B, Pop, Amapiano, Afrobeats.
Any advice for someone dreading following their dreams?
Keep going no matter how impossible it seems. I never thought I’d be at this point and right now I’m travelling the world making music, performing and living my dream. I still have a long way to go but I’m not stopping. And you shouldn’t either.