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The pinnacle of Falcon journalism

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The pinnacle of Falcon journalism

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Tyla’s self-titled debut album shines a light on amapiano music

Courtesy of Genius
Tyla poses in an iridescent skirt and top matching set on her self-titled debut album, Tylas album cover.

On Friday, March 22, South African musician Tyla released her debut album Tyla, following the growing success of the album’s previously dropped singles “Water,” “On and On,” “Truth or Dare,” and “Butterflies.’’ Tyla recently entered the R&B music scene, claiming the spotlight with her elusive energy and electrically smooth vocals. Tyla artfully mixes music genres of R&B, amapiano (a form of South African hip-hop and electronic music), and pop music while also establishing a clearer voice for the blossoming singer. 

Tyla quickly gained worldwide attention with her first lead single “Water” in July 2023, successfully, and surprisingly, earning her a spot in the Top 10 on Billboard’s Hot 100. This early hit earned her the title of the first South African solo artist to enter the US Billboard Hot 100 chart in the past 55 years. At just 22 years old, Tyla is only kick-starting her career, but fans already have set their sights on Tyla becoming the next R&B queen. 

Tyla celebrates her 2023 Grammy win while making a playful face for paparazzi to snap a shot of. (Courtesy of Glamour South Africa)

The rapid success of two of the album’s lead singles put the singer in the spotlight. “Water” earned Tyla attention when it gained Tyla the first-ever Best African Music Performance Grammy at the 66th Annual Grammy Awards in 2023, and “Truth or Dare” whose accompanying music video gained 11 million views on YouTube. Tyla blends amapiano with house pop tropes to create music that resonates with a variety of listeners. 

Fans harbored impossibly high expectations for Tyla’s first-ever album, and she delivered. Tyla’s 15-track debut album, though holding room for growth, has lived up to the hype. It dares to be both experimental and effortlessly consistent, blending melodies and music genres into a deliciously free-flowing R&B album. In an interview with Reuters, Tyla summarized the genres encapsulated on her debut album, “Pop, R&B and then obviously amapiano and Afrobeats because that’s where I’m from, that’s the sounds of home.”

“Safer,” the second track off Tylas debut album immediately captures listeners’ attention with its transcending vocals and lyrics that mirror the rest of the album’s catchy pop tone. “This feels way too good to be true, I’m ready to go there with you, I’m fallin’, it’s like déjà vu,” Tyla sings in the song’s first verse. While the lyrics of “Safer” lean towards repetition, the overall vibrant tone allows the song to be classified as pop, showing how Tyla’s versatile talents span throughout the album.

Tyla stands in front of a light backdrop while twirling her hair during a photoshoot.

“On and On,” the eighth track, starts slow, building up to an elemental and charming chorus. The song, originally released in December 2023 as one of the album’s lead singles, attracted listeners to wait for the full album’s release. “Let’s take it back in time, Party like it’s ‘95, I just wanna dance all night,” Tyla sings in the song’s pre-chorus. As Tyla calls listeners to the dance floor, the song’s electric instrumentals do all the work for her, inspiring audiences to get up and move.

The ninth track on Tyla’s album, “Jump,” features rap artists Gunna and Skillibeng. Tyla’s lyrical genius is on full display in this track, through catchy lyrics and amapiano drums in the song’s background. “From Jozi to Ibiza, They say it doesn’t get sweeter,” Tyla sings in the song’s chorus. Tyla and Gunna later take on the song’s post-chorus singing, “You know I love to make it, Jump, Jump, Jump.” Tyla’s fast-paced and rhythmic lyrics help the track claim a spot alongside lead single “Water” as the most upbeat R&B/house song off the album.

Tyla is more than up to the challenge to surpass listeners’ expectations. The singer’s debut self-titled album houses 15 full-circle tracks, featuring smooth and vibrant vocals mixed with catchy lyrics, inspiring the beginning of lifelong Tyla fans. Tyla’s first-ever album earns four and a half out of five feathers.

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About the Contributor
Hanna Cortright
Hanna Cortright, Cub Arts and Entertainment Editor
Hanna is a sophomore, in her first year of journalism. You can often find Hanna running track and field or watching one of her favorite movies. Her favorite food is pasta and she loves to draw.
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