By: Joel Ontong
South African singer Tyla won a Grammy in the category of Best African Music Performance on Sunday.
The artist won the award for her afropiano and R&B song Water, which has reached global popularity and made various achievements.
Tyla accepted her award at the 66th Annual Grammy Awards premiere ceremony at the Peacock Theater in Los Angeles. The premiere ceremony, held ahead of the main ceremony, is where the majority of awards are handed out.
Tyla beat other African stars, including Burna Boy, Ayra Starr, ASAKE & Olamide and Davido featuring South African artist Musa Keys.
“Oh my – what the heck!” Tyla said at the start of her acceptance speech.
“Oh my gosh, guys. This is crazy. Like I never thought I’d say, ‘I won a Grammy at 22 years old, guys’,” she said.
“Thank you to the Recording Academy for this category. It’s so important and I know I’m forgetting some things, but I won a Grammy! Thank you, thank you,” she said, ending her speech.
Best African Music Performance is a new category for the Grammys, added for the 2024 ceremony.
Tyla previously told News24 in a December 2023 interview that, “Being nominated is such a blessing.”
The award was presented by music producer veteran Jimmy Jam.
Tyla was visibly excited to receive her first Grammy, walking on stage in a green dress, while the live band played Water No Get Enemy by Afrobeat legend Fela Kuti.
South African comedian Trevor Noah was also nominated for a Grammy in the category of Best Comedy Album; the award went to Dave Chappelle. Noah is also the host of the main ceremony of the Grammy Awards.
Theron Thomas, who was a writer on Tyla’s Been Thinking and also wrote for Lil Durk, Jung Kook and others, also won in the songwriter of the year, non-classical category.
Tyla dropped her hit single Water in July 2023; the song spawned a TikTok dance challenge, with users participating across the world.
The song would eventually land on the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at number 7.
This was the first time in 55 years, since Hugh Masekela’s Grazing in the Grass, that a solo song by a South African musician made it onto the chart.
Being 21 years old at the time, Tyla became the youngest South African to appear on the prestigious list.