Rising Star | Tyla on being inspired by Brenda Fassie, Rihanna and more - 'The music is very spiritual'

play article
Subscribers can listen to this article
SA singer Tyla is taking her music to the world.
SA singer Tyla is taking her music to the world.
Photo: Annie Reid

Tyla Seethal is making a name for herself in music.

The 21-year-old from Johannesburg has been seen rubbing shoulders with Hollywood A-listers like Kim Kardashian, H.E.R and SZA, and her infectious fusion of R&B, pop, amapiano and Afrobeats has been taking social media by storm.

Her 2019 single Getting Late, featuring local producer Kooldrink, combines her vocals with a catchy amapiano-inspired Afropop beat and has swept through TikTok, catapulting her music beyond borders.

Her journey with music began when she shared writing songs from the young age of 12. Tyla has committed herself to pursuing music professionally for the past three years and has a lot more in store for her fans.

Johannesburg-born singer Tyla
Singer and songwriter Tyla is travelling the world and working on her debut album.

Speaking to TRUELOVE about drawing inspiration from local legends like Brenda Fassie, Malaika and Freshly Ground, Tyla tells us about the impact growing up listening to these artists has had on her music.

“I just grew up loving all different types of music and these were a few South African artists that played most in the house and just the vibe of South African music like the beats; it’s very spiritual almost, like it makes you feel something, and I would love that in my music, and I feel like that’s why I incorporate a lot of South African sounds in my music. Not only because I’m from there and I’m South African, but also because the music is very spiritual, and I feel like I relate to it, and it speaks more to who I am.”

READ MORE | DJ Buhle on riding the deep house wave - 'My sound is inspired by the elements of nature'

From her fashion debut at Milan Fashion Week to being spotlighted as Spotify’s EQUAL Africa Artist for March 2023, Tyla tells us all about the journey her music has taken her on over the years and the plans she has for the future.

@truelovemagazine Tyla spotted at the Black Panther premiere dressed by Nao Serati. #WakandaForeverSA #wakandaforever #naoserati #redcarpet ? original sound - truelovemagazine

How would you describe the evolution of your pen and sound?

My sound, I know, has changed a lot because initially I’d sing a lot of R&B, which I still love, but I grew to gravitate towards a lot of other sounds especially African sounds and learning how to merge that with my initial love for R&B and pop music. And, yeah, that has changed a lot, like me recording for this album my sound has changed and developed so much and I’m super proud of where it is right now.

And with my pen, yoh guys! Initially, my writing was literally so cheesy. Learning from other people, working on my own writing myself and with other people I’ve learnt a lot and, I don’t know, I’ve also learnt to be more vulnerable when writing. Initially I never wanted to open up, but I began opening up and truly writing from experiences and it’s made me grow a lot as an artist.

How have you curated your sound and set it apart from other musicians in similar genres?

I feel like where my sound was going was very natural, like I genuinely just did things that I loved. I made music that I loved, and it just became something very new and fresh because not many people are doing it like I’m doing it in terms of fusing these genres together and I really feel like it does set me apart because, again, not many people are doing it. And how I curated the sound, it was a very natural process.

I never really went into studio or sessions thinking, ‘Okay now what is the sound going to be?’ I never thought of it that way, it genuinely happened over time naturally and I was just making music that I loved and adding my African spice to it, adding my love for amapiano and Afrobeats to it and it ended up being something new.

READ MORE | Rising Star | Actress Kea Zawadi's latest career move - 'Music has always been the core of who I am'

Who else has inspired and influenced your music?

Definitely Aaliyah, Rihanna, [and] Beyoncé. Michael Jackson in terms of just how big and grand his career was and how influential he is. I just look up to all these people and I aspire to be as great as them one day.

What have been the highs of your music career so far?

It’s been literally a rollercoaster. Since things started kicking off around the time of Getting Late, there was a lot of highs like I left South Africa for the first time, I travelled the world, [and] I met amazing people.

And the lows?

It came with a lot of uncomfortable situations where I had to learn how to get out of my shell a bit more, I had to learn how to sing in front of a lot of people, like record music in front of a lot of people.

There was a lot of growing that I had to do as an artist and as a person in general, especially since I came from such a strict family I was not exposed to much, so now that my career started kicking off and I started travelling more alone I had to learn a lot and it came with a lot but overall, I’ve been truly blessed and enjoying the journey.

Is there anything else you’re working on that your fans can look forward to?

Right now, I’m working towards my album, which I’m excited about because it’s my first-ever album, which is crazy. There are a few singles leading up to it, with solo ones and also with other artists that I really love. I’m just looking forward to the drop and what comes with it, you know, performing more for people and just sharing the music and letting people finally hear what I’ve been working on for so long because I feel like I haven’t released in forever ever ever. So, that’s basically what I’m working on right now and people should definitely look forward to that.

Sign up to TRUELOVE's Monday Mood Newsletter
Positive kickstart to the week, upbeat celebrity news, TV news, career and financial tips - Sign up here!

Show Comments ()