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Tyla is the youngest South African to win a Grammy for ‘Water’

At age 22, Tyla is officially first youngest South African - and African artist as a whole - to win a Grammy award for Best African Music Performance 2024 in the category's first year.

Nominated alongside amapiano stars Asake & Olamide (‘Amapiano’), Nigeria’s Burna Boy (‘City Boys‘), Davido featuring South Africa’s own Musa Keys (‘Unavailable‘) and Ayra Starr (‘Rush‘), ‘Water’ made the South African singer the category’s first-ever winner.

The hit single, which peaked in January at number 7 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart is also the young singer’s first ever award following its release in July 2023. It wasn’t long before ‘Water‘ became a global hit, all thanks to the TikTok viral ‘Water‘ dance challenge three months later, ultimately racking up millions of views.

“I never thought I’d say I won a Grammy at 22 years old,” Tyla said as she accepted the award. “Last year God decided to change my whole life. So, thanks so much to God, thank you to my team, my family … ‘I know my mother is crying somewhere in here’. Thank you to the Recording Academy for this category. It’s so important.”

Tyla’s 2024 Grammys win comes a year after Zakes Bantwini, Wouter Kellerman and Noncebo Zikode recorded another Grammy honour for South Africa in 2023.

Best African Music Performance is one of three newest categories debuting at the 2024 Grammy Awards, together with Best Alternative Jazz Album and Best Dance Recording. American singer-songwriter, Meshell Ndegeocello, is the inaugural winner of the former, while the latter award was won by Kylie Minogue.

At 22, Tyla is also the youngest African Grammy winner. She was the only artist in her category with no album to her name as yet; Burna Boy, Ayra Starr, Davido, Asake and Olamide all have albums in their discographies.

‘Water‘ will appear on the Johannesburg-born upcoming self-titled debut album, out in March 22.

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Editor's Desk
Editor's Desk
Curated by editor-in-chief, Tankiso Komane, this special collection of articles from the Editor's Desk unpacks topics of the day, including commentary, in-depth analysis and partner content.
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