22-year-old South African, Tyla edged out 5 Nigerian giants at Grammys

The stiff competition for Nigerian Afrobeats stars at this year’s Grammy Awards ended with a disappointing outlook, as South African singer and songwriter, Tyla Laura Seethal, popularly known as Tyla, took home the golden gramophone for Best African Music Performance — an all-new category — at the 2024 GRAMMYs.

The South African starlet’s ‘Water’ came ahead of Asake & Olamide’s ‘Amapiano’; Burna Boy’s ‘City BoysMiracle’; Davido Featuring Musa Keys “Unavailable”; and Ayra Starr’s “Rush”.

The singer was taken aback upon winning the trophy which was awarded by Jimmy Jam during the awards Premiere Ceremony.

“What the heck?!” she declared once on stage. “This is crazy, I never thought I’d say I won a GRAMMY at 22 years old.”

Coming up against stiff competition, the amapiano-based pop song ‘Water’ entered the Billboard Hot 100 last year, the first for a South African solo artist since Hugh Masekala in 1968.

Water later peaked at No. 7, making her the highest-charting African female solo musician in Billboard history. The song also went to No. 1 on the Billboard U.S. Afrobeats Songs and Hip-Hop/R&B charts.

The 22-year old shouted out her family during her acceptance speech, saying “I know my mother’s crying somewhere in here.”

She made history as the first-ever Best African Music performance winner in the new category which according to the Academy’s president Harvey Mason Jr. was created to honour music from the African continent.

In an interview with Grammy.com, he said: “I’d love to see us be able to honor even more music from Africa and other areas of the world. The future of the Recording Academy is going to build on equity. We’re not just honoring music breaking in our country — we’re celebrating music from around the world.”

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