South African Sensation Tyla Surprises with Grammy Win

by Ukenya Emmanuel

In a stunning upset, South African singer Tyla, known for her hit “Water,” triumphed over top Nigerian Afrobeats artists at the 2024 Grammy Awards. Tyla’s victory in the newly established Best African Music Performance category left Nigerian stars like Burna Boy and Davido in the dust.

The competition was fierce, with Tyla’s “Water” surpassing contenders like Asake & Olamide’s “Amapiano,” Burna Boy’s “City Boys Miracle,” Davido’s “Unavailable” featuring Musa Keys, and Ayra Starr’s “Rush.”

Upon receiving the prestigious award from Jimmy Jam during the Premiere Ceremony, Tyla expressed her disbelief, exclaiming, “What the heck?! This is crazy, I never thought I’d say I won a Grammy at 22 years old.”

Tyla’s chart-topping success with “Water” on the Billboard Hot 100 last year marked a milestone for South African solo artists, a feat not achieved since Hugh Masekela in 1968. The song soared to No. 7, making Tyla the highest-charting African female solo musician in Billboard history. Additionally, “Water” claimed the No. 1 spot on both the Billboard U.S. Afrobeats Songs and Hip-Hop/R&B charts.

During her acceptance speech, the 22-year-old artist thanked her family, acknowledging her mother’s tears of joy in the audience. Making history as the inaugural winner of the Best African Music Performance category cements Tyla’s win as a significant step in recognizing music from the African continent. According to Recording Academy President Harvey Mason Jr., the creation of this category aims to honour music from diverse regions worldwide, emphasizing the Academy’s commitment to equity and inclusivity in music recognition.

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