How Rising Popstar Tyla Really Got Her Start In The Music Industry

Tyla's song, "Water," which came out in July of 2023, has become an international hit. The song marked the first time that a South African artist made it onto the Billboard Hot 100 chart in over five decades. However, the track also became quite popular on social media. As of November 2023, the sensual bop has made it to number 11 on the Billboard TikTok Music Chart. Oh, there's also Tyla's TikTok dance challenge, which has seen some fans attempt to mimic her smooth, creative moves. R&B star Ciara even joined in on the fun in October — despite being heavily pregnant! "Up here tryin to move like Tyla with this bump... somebody come get my phone," Ciara captioned her Instagram video.

The success of "Water" has caused Tyla's social media following to drastically increase. Tyla currently has over six million followers on TikTok alone. However, she's also accrued a devoted following on Instagram — where nearly 2.5 million fans have happily subscribed to her frequent updates. "Rarely do you see a new artist make a worldwide impact such as Tyla, having already made a historic entry with 'Water,' reaching the top 10 on the Billboard Global 200," shared a Netinfluencer spokesperson, according to The Source. They also credited her success to her TikTok popularity. And while there's no doubt that Tyla has a bright future ahead of her, you should know that she was working long before TikTok knew her name.

Tyla has been perfecting her craft for years

Tyla's love of music started very early in life. "I've always loved music and knew I was going to become a singer, like, since I was small," shared Tyla with Capital XTRA in October 2023. "I was that child that was making shows for everyone, performing in primary school, high school." Although Tyla's parents didn't initially take her musical dreams seriously, they allowed her to take a gap year after graduating high school. After that, Tyla worked hard to garner attention on social media — including Musically (TikTok's predecessor). Tyla even attempted to network with celebrities like Normani through their DMs. Eventually, she released one of her earlier hits, "Getting Late," and eventually landed a deal with Epic Records.

Although Tyla is undeniably one of the most popular new artists of the past few years, she didn't always enjoy such intense fan devotion. While chatting with Zkhiphani TV, Tyla revealed that she felt super proud of releasing the video for "Getting Late" because she and her team didn't have nearly as much support as they currently enjoy. "I just knew that we didn't have much to work with, but we came out with something so amazing," shared Tyla about the January 2021 release. "And I feel like I use that as a lesson all the time because now I have a label, now I have support. So, there's not really an excuse now. I can only do better," she added.

Where Tyla sees herself in the future

TikTok challenges tend to come and go, but Tyla's career is shaping up to be more than just a passing fad. In 2021, Tyla revealed to i-D that she wanted to become "the biggest pop star to come out of South Africa... and just in general." She continued, "I wanna work every day towards breaking that door down for future African artists who have the same dream. I want to become the new reference and the start of something new." Given Tyla's recent wins, she's undoubtedly on her way to achieving all that and more.

One of her biggest feats was landing a performance slot on "Late Night With Jimmy Fallon," which marked her "U.S. TV debut," according to the popular host. So far, the YouTube video of the performance has racked up over 2.2 million views. Naturally, Tyla had a pretty strong reaction to her latest career milestone, which she'd dreamed about for years, according to Cosmopolitan. "It's just crazy that it actually happened," Tyla told the magazine. "For me, it's God. I pray all the time throughout the day. I feel like it was really a calling for me, and God knew this is your time and this is your year and then started blessing me."