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Born and raised in Johannesburg, Tyla Laura Seethal was still a teenager when she had her first South African chart success with the single "Getting Late" featuring Kooldrink. Released in late 2019, it established her seductive, melismatic vocal delivery and intimate yet highly rhythmic, percussion-heavy sound.
In September 2021, she made her FAX Records/Epic Records debut with the club-ready "Overdue" featuring Kooldrink and DJ Lag. The more pared-down solo effort "To Last" followed in 2022, and 2023 saw the release of songs including "Girl Next Door" (with Ayra Starr) and that July's "Water," a single that catapulted Tyla to the upper regions of the international charts. The song not only reached the Top Ten in places like Australia, several European countries, and the U.K, where it entered the Top Five, "Water" topped the singles chart in New Zealand and peaked at number 67 on the U.S. Hot 100. The latter benchmark made Tyla the first solo South African artist to enter the Hot 100 since Hugh Masekela in 1968 ("Grazing in the Grass") and, at 21, the youngest one to that point. The single appeared on her eponymous debut EP later that year. "Water" won the inaugural Best African Music Performance award at the 66th Annual Grammy Awards in 2024. ~ Marcy Donelson