Afrobeats: South Africa’s Tyla Makes Billboard History With Debut Single “Water”

BY Edwin Lamptey October 10, 2023 3:05 PM EDT
Photo Source: Instagram/@tyla

South African singer and songwriter, Tyla, is flying high with her song Water which is already putting her in the history books of Billboard’s Hot 100.

The musician and dancer, born Tyla Laura Seethal, took over TikTok with her song as many users of the app were flooded with variations of videos in which content creators used the song for their posts and eventually became a dance challenge.

Water was birthed out of a mixture of genres, including Afrobeats, pop, R&B, and South Africa’s style of electronic dance music which has come to be known and accepted as Amapiano.

Following the success of the song, it managed to make it into the enviable list of Billboard’s Hot 100 coming in at No.67 for now.

“Tyla debuts at number 67 on this week’s Hot 100. It is her first career entry on the chart,” US music and entertainment magazine Billboard, said on Monday.

The 21-year-old’s popular song however has taken the enviable No.2 spot on the Afrobeats chart in the US, playing second fiddle to Rema and Selena Gomez’s Calm Down.

She now becomes the youngest singer South African to make an appearance on the coveted list and also the latest South African musician with a solo song to appear on the chart since jazz legend Hugh Masekela’s Grazing in the Grass 55 years ago.

The official music video for Water is almost hitting 4 million views after it was posted 4 days ago on video-sharing website, YouTube.

Tyla took to social media platform X, (formerly Twitter) to express her joy over her achievement noting that the win was for all of Africa. She wrote: “This is a win for the whole of Africa… unity will give us the power to go further. let’s take our sound to the world”.

Water was released in July and managed to blow up on TikTok after Tyla posted a number of videos of herself dancing to the song.

A dance routine was then born. It was created by the South African dance choreographer Lee-ché Janeck and it involves a dancer making a series of vibrant movements, including shaking of the hips, belly dancing, twerking, and legwork while pouring water down one’s back, noted.