WHM Spotlight: Tyla Did Her Big One With Self-Titled Debut Album [REVIEW]

WHM Spotlight: Tyla Did Her Big One With Self-Titled Debut Album [REVIEW]

Source: Robert Gauthier / Getty

A year ago this month, give or take two weeks to the day, we were presented with the opportunity to interview a South African pop star by the name of Tyla with eager ambitions to make a splash on the charts here stateside by way of America’s burgeoning interest in Afrobeats and a newer subgenre known as Ampiano.

In the time since BAW’s exclusive chat with Epic Records’ then-21-year-old rising star, who we mistakenly introduced at the time as 19 years old — sincerest apologies again! — the fresh-faced beauty has dropped a worldwide smash with her summer 2023 viral lead single “Water,” won the first-ever GRAMMY Award for “Best African Music Performance” as a result of the song’s success and ultimately edged herself into the pop world as a premiere crossover star for a generation of music fans impatiently awaiting for their version of Rihanna to arrive.



But what about the other music? Does the well simply dry up after “Water”?

Thankfully, with the arrival of her self-titled debut album this past Friday (March 22), the award-winning Johannesburg native is proving that it’s not all hype and, as the closing track title suggests, Tyla is here to last.




RELATED: Mmm, Tyla! Pop Music With A Touch Of South African Spice [INTERVIEW]

Spanning a modest 38 minutes over 13 tracks and a big-name-assisted remix to the aforementioned chart-topper, TYLA is a soft, sweet and sonically-thumping journey through ampiano produced almost entirely by Ghanaian producer Sammy SoSo with additional props to Sir Nolan, Corey Marlon Lindsay-Keay and assistance from Tricky Stewart on “Water.” Features are limited but prominent, with Travis Scott appearing as the big-name feature in question on “Water (Remix),” fellow Afrobeats singing sensation Tems on the put-myself-first duet “No. 1,” getting the dance floor shaking alongside Latin pop princess Becky G with “On My Body” and whining waists from ‘Jersey to Ibiza’ with help from Gunna and Skillibeng on album standout “Jump.”

Vocally, Tyla comfortably takes ‘the Aaliyah of Ampiano’ approach with her style of singing, which makes a lot of sense being that Baby Girl is the prime artist Tyla told us a year ago is who inspired both her music and artistic aesthetic overall. Being that Aaliyah tragically died at 22, and Tyla is just getting started at 22, the spiritual baton-passing comes with a feeling of perfect timing after almost 25 years of mourning what could’ve been with the ethereal Princess Of R&B. At the very least, the late triple threat now has a suitable successor with the skills to properly honor her legacy.




All in all, Tyla is very much in the midst of her “Crazy In Love” era at the moment, or even a rise in the ranks comparable to that of “Umbrella.” Time will tell whether or not she’ll have longevity though — follow-up singles “On and On” and “Truth or Dare” have soaked but far from drowned audiences quite like “Water.” Still, Tyla’s chances are strong given the fact that she’s at the forefront of a movement backed by all of South Africa.

We see her going on and on and on.



Take a listen now to TYLA, the self-titled debut album by South Africa’s premiere princess of Ampiano music, and see what others are saying about the project below:




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