Album Reviews

TYLA by Tyla: A Groundbreaking Debut For An African Popstar

With a Grammy win and a rapidly expanding fan base, Tyla has solidified her position as a force to be reckoned with in the music industry.

Tyla album review
Tyla album cover [PHOTO CREDIT: Instagram/@tyla]

Just before we dive into the TYLA album review, let’s have some background information. Tyla Laura Seethal has the most infectious aura. Her subtle and glaring gesticulations are a result of the fiery ambitions nurtured in her earlier years in Johannesburg. If Tyla hasn’t made it obvious enough, she was born ready for stardom.

The Grammy-award-winning South African singer came from courteous beginnings. Once upon a time, in her suburban hometown, she gained considerable fame as a YouTube vlogger alongside her younger sister, Sydney Seethal. 

Now, she dominates the music charts, jet-setting across the globe, achieving groundbreaking milestones, and realising her childhood aspirations of becoming a globally renowned pop sensation worthy of admiration.

Since her explosive breakthrough single ‘Water’ took the airwaves by storm in 2023, Tyla has emerged as the leading figure in representing her country, becoming the face of the Amapiano music sensation.

Undoubtedly, she has exceeded all expectations that may have once doubted her potential for success, ascending to the status of South Africa’s shining star. With a Grammy win and a rapidly expanding fan base, Tyla has solidified her position as a force to be reckoned with in the music industry.

Even as the world momentarily shifted its focus away from her remarkable Grammy performance, Tyla’s self-titled debut album, featuring fourteen tracks, arrived to reaffirm her undeniable talent and enduring presence on the global stage.

On February 4, 2024, Tyla became the youngest South African to earn the prestigious plaque, bagging it at only twenty-two years and setting a precedent to beat. 

However, the album’s release seems to have sparked a re-awakening of some sort. 

Now, let’s dive into the Tyla album review;

The excellence of ‘Tyla’ reflects the meticulous effort poured into its crafting. In a recent appearance on MTV’s MTV Freshout series, hosted by Kevan Kenney, Tyla revealed the painstaking process of sifting through a staggering 109 songs before finalising the album’s tracklist. Such unwavering dedication is a rarity in today’s music scene, a fact acknowledged by Tyla herself in her track ‘Butterflies.’

Tyla alongside her most prominent songwriting collaborator, Ariowa Isogie, aka Ari Pen Smith, is a match made in heaven. The latter’s pen litters throughout the project, with help from other songwriters, of course.

The mature storytelling, and resonant thoughtfulness in a song like ‘No. 1’ featuring Tems, a singer whom Tyla has lauded for constant appraisal, is the type of artistry derived from brilliant creative collaboration; the album contains quite a number of those.

Take the cross-cultural bop ‘Jump’, which features American rapper, Gunna and Jamaican DJ, Skillibeng for instance. The trio takes listeners on a simultaneous trip to South Africa, the United States and the Caribbean with the potential club smash hit. 

 In ‘No. 1,’ both Tems and Tyla spread the message of prioritizing self-love over toxic, time-wasting endeavours. Notably, Tyla duplicates this theme on track 12, ‘Priorities.’

Track 10, ‘Art’, is beautifully crafted and further depicts Tyla’s vocal control and soothing ad-libs. 

Throughout the project, Tyla in collaboration with her musical contributors, ingeniously fuses African elements like the shakers and log drum with Western sounds like pop and R&B. Even when she sounds foreign, she and her team make it of important to accentuate local African sonic influences, which, let’s face it, is the new cool. 

Tyla’s relentless passion for her craft distinguishes her. She refused to settle for mediocrity or take shortcuts in the creative process. Instead, she poured her heart and energy into every area of the record, from songwriting to production, making certain that each detail was perfect.

To summarise our Tyla album review, her debut album transcends cultural barriers, resonating with listeners globally. It marks a significant triumph for Tyla as an artist and a pivotal moment for African pop music. In an industry where debut releases are often sidelined or underestimated, Tyla’s album emerges as a transformative masterpiece worthy of acclaim and acknowledgement.

Tyla album review
Review Overview

In summary, there is no skippable song on Tyla’s remarkable self-titled debut. The fourteen-track album is so good and intentional that it should be considered as one of the most groundbreaking debuts by an African pop star ever. 

  • Songwriting8
  • Production9
  • Sequence9
  • Enjoyability7
  • Delivery8

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