Nineteen-year old singer and dancer Tyla makes her case as South Africa’s first global pop princess with her hotshot debut ‘Getting Late’ feat. Kooldrink – which has amassed over 1 million combined streams. The hypnotic Amapiano track infused with candied vocals came complete with a blockbuster music video, hailed by PAPER as an “epic… real life fantasy”. The video racked up over 715,000 YouTube views within weeks and spawned reels of TikTok content – a platform where digital native Tyla is rapidly rising with over 678,000 followers and 10.2 million+ likes. It also garnered playlist support on Apple Music’s Dance and Electronic playlists The Wave and Vibes.
Swathed in an air of opulence and playful escapism, the video centres around Tyla and her troupe of female dancers bringing to life maximalist 2000s American R&B music video visuals in Johannesburg’s gritty landscape. Marching bands and cheerleaders; laser lights, lingerie and mansions – this is a glorious manifestation of dreams for international stardom.
Filming for the elaborate video started just before the pandemic hit and then lockdown put Tyla’s debut on pause. An incredibly frustrating time for an excited artist on the cusp of launch, who had already worked for two hard years to reach the starting line.
“I have never cried as much as I did last year,” Tyla confessed. “We set out wanting to make the best music video South Africa has ever seen, and it just felt like every success was followed by a hundred failures.
“Everything you see, we did by ourselves. No major label deal, no investors, we handmade outfits, built sets, we worked for favours, [and] pushed harder than I thought possible. I don’t know if it’s the hottest video South Africa has ever seen, that’s for you to decide. But what I do know is that I had never imagined in my life to look at something that I had made and be so proud.”
Born and raised in Johannesburg, Tyla grew up listening to American R&B triple-threats like Aaliyah and Cassie. It is these MTV TRL staples of the day mixed with a curation of homegrown sonics like SA House, Gqom and Amapiano that shape Tyla’s sound.
Meshing the richness of South Africa’s diverse music scene with international influences. She is part of an active new generation of African creatives, proudly sharing their culture with the global community on social media.
“I’m proud of being South African and I want to take Africa everywhere I go. It’s amazing how social media connects me with the world. TikTok allows me to express myself and show the world our South African dance moves like Pouncing Cat and the Gwara Gwara,” Tyla said.
“I actually have a challenge for this video that combines some SA moves, so it’s like a little window into our culture. You have the Harlem Shake and we all know that, so you must also know how to ‘Vuli Gate’.”
This concept of worlds colliding is nothing new to Tyla. It’s in her blood, with a diverse heritage that stems from Indian, African and Mauritius roots, to name a few. With ‘Getting Late’ steadily making waves around the globe, Tyla now sets her focus on building a career as a multi-hyphenate entertainer and shining a spotlight on Africa.
“I’m a singer first and foremost, but I love acting, dancing, drawing, and writing. I just love to express myself in all these different ways and I hope to explore all of these paths as I grow as an artist. I want to build a legacy for my family and South Africa. I see myself involving a lot of African people wherever I can just to build the continent and bring the world’s attention to us.”