19 year old South African singer Tyla always wanted to perform, sing and dance for as long as she can remember, and with her recent signing to Epic Records alongside her immense hard work, her dreams are on their way to becoming a reality. Tyla represents the vibrancy and creativity coming from South Africa’s music scene, and this is only the beginning.
Tyla, congratulations on the success you have had with your video Getting Late, the sense of softness, luxury, as well as fun and good energy really came through to match with the song itself! Could you tell us a bit about the ideas and concepts behind it?
My team and I just went into the project knowing we wanted to give it our all with what we had. I feel the passion and drive we have brought to the video created the energy it has. The idea was to create this African fairy tale where the message of patience is portrayed in the male interest waiting for me to “get ready”. The song itself is about patience when it comes to relationships, but I feel like my team and I were able to make both the song and video portray that message in a fun and lighter way.
You’ve talked about how everything we see in the video was made possible from your own, and your team’s strength - without any help from a record label, how did it feel to see all your hard work come together in the final video?
It was the best feeling ever. I’m super blessed to have a team like mine and the fact that we all did this on our own brings a huge sense of pride and accomplishment- I wouldn’t have had it any other way.
The song itself has an electronic dance sound. What was the process behind the music and the songwriting process? Did the music or the words come first?
Kooldrink and I never tried Amapiano until we did Getting Late. So, one day we decided to try it out because I personally am a huge fan of the genre but at the time of creating it, there were not many people singing on the beat. We tried it out and while Kooldrink was creating a beat I was writing and coming up with melodies. My stylist Thato (Thegmni) and Creative Director (Garth) were with us, and I feel we all created the song together. The energy made everything fall into place so organically.
Could you tell us a bit about your upbringing and what led you to want to become a singer and performer?
Ever since I could say the word ‘singer’, it was all I told people I wanted to be. I grew up listening to almost every genre and I come from a very musical family. My love for music started very early in my childhood. I remember watching Michael Jackson and Rihanna concerts, music videos and just imagining myself in that space. Nothing else ever felt right and I truly believe it’s my calling.
I read that you have been really inspired by 2000’s American R&B music and music videos from artists like Aaliyah and Cassie, in what ways did they inspire you?
American R&B is the music I grew up on. Boyz II Men, Kem, Tevin Campbell, Aaliyah, Cassie and the list goes on and on. I love the groove of the music and how it can make you feel so many different emotions. I listened to Aaliyah and Cassie dreaming I could also be a superstar one day. Them being young Women of Colour was something that motivated me and kept my dreams strong.
Coming from the music scene in South Africa, what can you tell us about it and how has it shaped the way you approach your music?
The music scene is South Africa and Africa in general is so evident in the culture. I can confidently say that Africa is the continent of music. The music scene here is huge and I’m super excited to see more of a global audience pay attention to what we have going on out here. The music scene has been dominated by the genre Amapiano and I am in love with it. It is a genre that originated here, and I fused it with pop to make my single Getting Late. In SA we love to dance so I keep that in mind when creating my music.
You have talked about how much you love singing and dancing, but you also enjoy acting, drawing and writing – outside of music, what kind of things inspire you artistically?
I genuinely just enjoy the arts and everything that falls under it. In South Africa, we are so rich in culture so there is always space to be inspired. Whenever I see or hear something I like, it is an inspiration to do more and just be present in every space I can.
TikTok and other social media platforms are good for getting exposure as an artist; how do you approach social media and how does it feel having such a large following already?
Social media is an amazing tool for artists as it helps me engage with my supporters and share my work with millions of people all around the world. I genuinely enjoy creating content and have been for a long time. I don’t take social media too seriously but it has become a part of my job and something I have to keep up with. The following grew gradually so I’ve gotten used to it over the years. I choose not to comprehend the number and just act as if it’s a value on the screen. I’m super grateful for my supporters and audience. It feels great knowing they have my back.
You have been open about the ways in which the pandemic hindered your goals as an artist, saying that the initial ‘success was followed by a hundred failures’, this time has been so hard on artists, what advice would you give to other upcoming artists like yourself during this time?
Keep going. There’s a lot of people that will rest during this time and wait for a better time, but my advice would be to keep going and get that head start. While people are sleeping, keep working and you will reap the rewards.
Lastly, I wish you all the success in the future! What can we expect next on the horizon for you?
Thank you so much! Expect the work to only be getting better and better. I’m super excited to start working with the newly added team at Epic Records and I predict only greatness.