“Make me sweat, make me hotter, make me lose my breath, make me water”-this catchy line from Tyla’s “Water” is a hit everywhere, and young people can’t help but sing and dance along. It’s not often a song comes around that gets everyone feeling happy and united, just like “Jerusalema” did a while back. Now, with the cool beats and dance moves of “Water”, it’s happening all over again – everyone, everywhere, is dancing to the same rhythm.

Saying I knew Tyla before “Water” hit big would be quite the stretch – bigger than Pinocchio’s nose, even! Yes, I heard the song “Water” before it became popular, but it wasn’t until I saw Tyla’s captivating stage presence that I became hooked. That’s when her music pulled me in.

Most of my music taste includes K-pop and mostly Gospel music. South African music? There are less than five songs on my playlist. But Tyla’s voice caught me off guard – it’s rich, captivating, and broke right through the usual sounds I listen to. It’s like she’s got her own gravitational pull in the world of pop.

Tyla mixes it up with all sorts of styles – pop, R&B, the upbeat vibes of Afrobeats, and Amapiano’s infectious beats. Her music is different; it’s got this realness that seems to hit the right note with everyone, no matter their age or favourite genre. Just ask my 20-year-old brother, a staunch Bacardi* fan, who thinks her hypnotic beat is dope.

The beats in her tracks give me goosebumps and chills, especially her song “To Last”.

And, Tyla’s momentum isn’t just heating up the South African scene; it’s a blaze felt worldwide. Her viral dance challenge gives us the Hot Girl Summer we need, and her song “Water” is exactly what we need to quench our thirst. She’s making South Africa proud, with “Water” splashing in at number 7 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart.

She’s only in her early 20s, and what she’s already achieved blows my mind. She’s the youngest South African singer to hit it big in America since Hugh Masekela did over half a century ago with his “Grazing in the Grass” 55 years ago.

One thing I admire about Tyla is that she is proud of her upbringing and culture. Years ago, she said, “I’m a Coloured South African, which means I come from many different cultures!… I’m exploring my African heritage by wearing Bantu knots…” It’s tricky, though, because, in America, they don’t understand the term ‘Coloured’ the way we do in South Africa. There, it’s regarded as a racial slur, and they regard her as multiracial. But on camera, Tyla’s always herself, accent and all.

She’s taking Amapiano and South Africa’s music scene to new heights, showing how far passion and hard work can take you. She says the journey to success is tough, filled with long nights and relentless effort. But, if you’re up for the challenge, as she is, you might just find yourself among the stars. Join the movement, become a ‘Tyger’, and be part of Tyla’s roaring global takeover.

QUESTION: What moves you more about Tyla’s story – her groundbreaking achievements at such a young age or the cultural barriers she’s breaking through with her music?