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“I’m My Own Artist. I’m Tyla” – Tyla On the Cover of Cosmopolitan Magazine

Music Interviews

“I’m My Own Artist. I’m Tyla” – Tyla On the Cover of Cosmopolitan Magazine

Tyla is not interested in the “I can’t believe I’m here role.” She worked hard to reach here. “I never had an example of how to be an African pop star. So I was shooting in the dark. And I know people think it came out of nowhere and we are just industry plants. But it’s been years of work, years of developing, of falling, of messing up, of dreaming, sitting up for hours and hours watching YouTube videos…” she says.

The South African music star came into the limelight with her hit song “Water” released in July 2023 and has not looked back since then. The song took over social media with its water-pouring TikTok dance and amassed a monthly Spotify stream of 29 million.

This year, the song won her first Grammy Award in the Best African Music Performance category. Unfazed by comparisons to Rihanna, Tyla considers it a compliment, acknowledging Rihanna’s iconic status while asserting her own identity: “I’m my own artist. I’m Tyla.”

In this cover interview with Cosmopolitan Magazine, Tyla talks about almost everything, from her family background, the immense success of her breakout hit “Water,” representing African Music on the global stage, a recent tour cancellation due to injury, her musical influences and more.

Read excerpts from the interview:

On her hit song “Water” and how she knew it would be big

“I recorded it in a bedroom. I never thought, This song is going to blow up. And then I started performing it and seeing everyone singing every word. And I knew it was something bigger than what we thought. People from everywhere are listening to it and dancing to it, no matter their age. There are babies, there are old people. I just love that it’s an African sound that is so universal.”

On how her life has changed since the release of the song  

“So many things have changed. I still live in South Africa, but I was able to move my parents, my family. Now they’re in a safer area. My family came to Dubai with me. I was able to bring them to Europe. I’m able to show my parents the world at this age, you know? Years back, I was crying on my parents’ bed, saying, “Can I sing, please? Can I just do this? I don’t want to go to university.” Now they are watching me win and they are seeing plaques and posters. The first time my parents got to be in America, they saw their daughter win a Grammy.”

On her back injury and cancelling the tour

“Yeah, unfortunately, I had to postpone the tour. Obviously, I wanted to do all the shows, but it didn’t really make sense considering the injury and the recommendations from the doctor. I’ll be back on it very soon, and I will be giving my Tygers the best show ever. I just need to slow down a bit more and just be easy on myself. I’m still recovering. At least I have medicine that helps ease the pain. It sucks, but I know God’s going to bring me out of it.”

On how she creates a balance 

I have a really good team and I have really good people around me that are from home, so I’m always reminded where I’m from. And my family. I’m very much grounded. I feel like the way we grew up, we are playful and do not take things too seriously. But also, God gives me peace always. No matter what happens, I know that eventually, it’s going to be the way God wants it to be.”

Click here to read the full interview.

Watch her interview on Cosmopolitan’s “The Breakdown” below:


Photographer: @amberasaly
Interview: @elainewelteroth
Stylist: @cassieanderson212
Hair: @louissouvestre

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