South African music sensation Tyla’s viral sensation, “Water,” has made its debut on the prestigious Billboard Hot 100 chart at Number 67, following weeks of trending on TikTok. It is her first career entry on the chart.”
This remarkable achievement marks “Water” as the first solo track by a South African artist to appear on the widely celebrated and recognized music ranking chart in the United States that is updated weekly, since jazz icon Hugh Masekela’s “Grazing in the Grass” did so 55 years ago. Tyla, at just 21 years old, has also become the youngest South African musician to achieve this feat.
Elated with the news, Tyla took to her socials reacting in a series of posts: “I’m a South African girl born and raised in Johannesburg. This is crazy.”
“Water” was released in July but gained traction in August when Tyla, whose full name is Tyla Laura Seethal, began sharing TikTok videos of herself dancing to the track. The earworm of a record incorporates a blend of genres, including Afrobeats, pop, R&B, and Amapiano, a South African style of electronic dance music. Its infectious melody has taken TikTok by storm, giving rise to the viral “water dance challenge,” with the song featured in over 500,000 videos on the platform.
The TikTok dance challenge has also brought the South African Bacardi dance routine, created by dance choreographer Lee-ché Janecke, to a global audience. It involves dynamic movements such as hip-shaking, belly dancing, twerking, and legwork while pouring water down one’s back. Tyla’s most popular TikTok dance video to her song has garnered more than 70 million views.
The music video for “Water” arrived not so long ago but has already garnered a million views on YouTube within its first day of release on the platform, which marks the first time a song by a South African female artist has achieved this milestone, according to the World Music Awards.
The song continues to enjoy success with over 3.6 million views on YouTube and a monthly Spotify audience of 10.7 million listeners for Tyla.
Additionally, “Water” has secured its place on other music charts in the US and UK, including the Billboard Afrobeats and R&B charts.
While “Water” serves as the breakthrough hit that has propelled Tyla to mainstream recognition, her previous songs, like “Been Thinking” and “Girl Next Door,” have also enjoyed success. Notably, she collaborated with Nigerian Afrobeats star Ayra Starr on “Girl Next Door.” Earlier in the year, Tyla was the opening act for Chris Brown’s “Under the Influence” music tour in Europe.
Amid the ongoing success of “Water,” Tyla, who has plans to release her first album in November, is part of a new generation of global musical talents helping to place South Africa and the broader African music scene on the international stage.