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Tyla talks bringing amapiano to the mainstream


ABC/John Argueta

Tyla‘s career may have just gotten its start, but her plan to bring amapiano to the mainstream stems back a few years. In a cover story for Dazed, she says she fell in love with the genre at 14 years old after hearing Kwiish SA’s viral tune “Iskhathi (Gong Gong).”

“That song, that log drum … It’s insane,” she says. “Hearing it in speakers and at parties I knew that the way it made me feel, [amapiano] had to be bigger than this.” 

Tyla first dabbled in the amapiano scene with a three-minute pop song. Her 2019 song “Getting Late,” however, is what eventually went viral. It drew critique from amapiano enthusiasts, but also the attention of Ezekiel Lewis, president of Epic Records, who signed her to the label in 2021.

“There weren’t people singing on amapiano at the time, just longer songs, around seven minutes with chants,” Tyla says. She notes people are now more familiar with the genre and Afrobeats, but says “it’s still new to a lot of audiences.”

In spite of that, she loves seeing women like Tems dominate in the industry and be “the face of Africa.”

“It’s about giving more examples to young girls at home, showing them that we can be bosses, and we can also run this thing,” says Tyla. “We’re equally as deserving, we deserve a place at the table too.”


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