The South African singer-songwriter won the Best African Music Performance Award for her single “Water” which took TikTok, and then the whole world, by storm in 2023.
It’s no surprise that the first-ever Grammy award for Best African Music Performance goes to Tyla, the South African singer-songwriter who shot to global fame following the success of her single ‘Water.” Still, she seemed a little shocked when she took to the stage to accept her award. “What the HECK?! Oh my gosh, guys, this is crazy! I never thought I’d say I won a Grammy at 22 years old.”
As if to introduce herself to those in the room who may not have seen her viral dance moves with a bottle of H2O, she went on to say, “If you don’t know me, my name is Tyla, I’m from South Africa, and last year God decided to change my whole life.” She went on to thank her team and the Recording Academy for introducing this category.
The singer was understandably on a “super happy” high when she spoke to OkayAfrica after winning the statue, saying that her parents came with her to the ceremony, and joked that her mother was crying for “I don’t know how long!”
When asked about why she thinks “Water” took off in the way that it did, she said, “I think that people just needed something new and fresh, and I’m just so glad that people connected to it. Because it’s fun; it’s a fun song,” she added. “A fun song with a fun dance!”
Elaborating on the significance of the category, she told OkayAfrica it’s “so, so important—not just for Africa but for the whole world.” She added, “I just know in my gut that this genre is going to be the next big wave, and everyone’s going to start jumping on it.”
Tyla was up against Afrobeats heavyweights Burna Boy, Davido, Asake, Olamide, Ayra Starr, and fellow South African Musa Keys who featured on Davido’s “Unavailable.”
On what this win meant to her, Tyla told The Recording Academy’s red carpet correspondent: “I’ve always been an advocate for African music. I love African music. It’s the music that I make. It’s the music that I listen to all the time and I’ve believed in it for so long. So, I’m just happy that it’s getting its recognition.”
A Grammy is a cherished possession and when asked where it first would go, Tyla said: “My father already told me it’s going in his room.”
Prior to the show, Tyla spoke to Billboard about the success of “Water” and being honored to be nominated in the first African music award at the Grammys.