A year ago, few would have expected an amapiano artist from South Africa to wow American TV. But after entering the Billboard Hot 100 at number 55, Tyla’s Water had already become a global viral sensation. Last week’s performance of the number on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon cemented it as one of South Africa’s most significant recordings of this century.
Not only was Tyla the youngest South African to make the US Billboard Hot 100, but also the first solo artist since Hugh Masekela with Grazing in the Grass in 1968.
The hype for Tyla has been building for a while. In July, Spotify released an episode of its original podcast series Spotify: Mic Check in which it spotlighted Tyla‘s fusion of pop, classic R&B, and African Beats. Listen to the full episode here.
Tyla discussed her beginnings in South Africa; her DM to Drake, a pivotal moment when she almost gave up on music; working with accomplished producers like Tricky Stewart and Kooldrink; the impact of joining Spotify’s Radar program in Africa; and a sneak peek of what was then her new single, Water.
Radar is Spotify’s program created to spotlight up-and-coming music talent – allowing them an opportunity to broaden their fan base and supporting them through comprehensive marketing, content, and editorial campaigns.