Stop The Hands Of Time: Clash Meets Tyla

"Music has always been a part of my life..."

Having always loved music from a young age, it’s always been a dream of Tyla’s to conquer the world with her delicate tone, positive outbursts and vibrant energy. From waking up to her father blasting out music downstairs to signal there weekly clean up, the soon-to-be popstar who was born and raised in Johannesburg, South Africa has turned the heads of many with her Amapiano-inspired debut track. Although the songstress is only 19 years of age, her vision and determination to succeed will lead you to think otherwise.

Teaming up with her frequent collaborator Kooldrink, the beat-smith behind the viral smash 'Getting Late' which had dropped prior to Covid; it wasn’t until earlier this year when the accompanying visuals were released that Tyla’s world swiftly elevated. Now sitting with over 1.1 million views on YouTube just over a month after its release, the nostalgic and dream-like vision took her Tik-Tok loving bop to the next level!

Encapsulating her flourishing personality through an array of girly shots as she plays as an inner-city princess that represents diversity in the modern-day landscape, the blush pink accents and Black girl magic takes centre stage as she delivers an enchanting yet fun-filled visual experience.

Clash had the chance to catch up with Tyla over Zoom to discuss her journey thus far. Tap in below to see what she had to say!

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How have you been? How has it been with the pandemic over there?

I’ve been good! It’s been exciting! It’s better now than it was, there are still restrictions and we still have curfew but overall, it’s a lot better!

How has it been for you as an artist and going to the studio?

Last year was terrible! We planned on doing the whole 'TYLA' thing last year but then Covid hit so it stopped a lot! It was very difficult for me because I had to be patient and I wasn’t able to go to studios, perform or anything! A lot of the meetings are now on Zoom, so I have been doing a lot of adjusting!

To my knowledge you were born and raised in Johannesburg in South Africa – paint a picture of what this was like for you? How was music bought into your life?

I was born and raised in Johannesburg, South Africa, I have never left here so this is all I know! I grew up in a very musical family, I have a family that sings and play instruments, so I was born into a family that loves music! I loved it from a very young age, music was my alarm clock, every weekend my father would blast loud music and we knew it was time to clean!

When we were young there would be music playing throughout the day and we would always be dancing in the lounge! Music has always been a part of my life and I grew up listening to everyone from Boyz 2 Men, Brian McKnight, Aaliyah and Cassie – so yeah!

Which artists were you drawn to for inspiration?

I can never choose! There’s a bunch of different artists that I love but I would definitely say Rihanna, Aaliyah, Cassie and even Michael Jackson – it had always fascinated me how big everything is, it was a dream that never left me when I was small.

How has it been for you navigating your sound? When you listen to 'Getting Late', it really is a mixture of different styles fused into one!

I also question how I got that sound! (laughs) 2019 was the year that I first recorded anything, and it was with Kooldrink who is the producer on “Getting Late”. It was us trying different genres and sounds to produce something that would stick, and this was the first song that did.

I feel like my voice is more on the pop and R&B side because that’s what I mainly grew up listening to. We mixed it with my passion for other sounds because I love almost every genre, I don’t want to be boxed in and create as much as I can.

The whole aim is to create fusion type music and mix my voice with all different genres like with 'Getting Late' which is Amapiano, a South African genre. We made it more like us by adding more pop elements into it but still keeping the key parts like the hard bass lines and piano melodies, you know? In the future, I am definitely going to be exploring more!

What made you decide that this song would be the right introduction to your sound?

When creating this song, we had never made an Amapiano song ever! I never thought I would make one but as we started getting deeper into the song, we started falling in love with it more and more. We became fans of the song and we knew we had to release it first because it was the first one that made us feel that type of way. It just felt right!

The visuals for this track are incredible! They really encapsulate the 2000’s and 90’s R&B vision! Did you have a clear vision for the music video prior to making it?

I didn’t! I just know me as a person, I like girly things! I also love hip-hop culture, we worked with an amazing team, my manager directed and shot the whole music video. The video was kind of like a passion project, although we had some money a lot of things were done by trades and we basically hustled our way through it.

We worked with a concept, my best friend styled the video and my manager directed it, we just sat down and started pulling references out and came up with this story. Initially we had no idea what we were going to do, but we are all very creative people, so we all started bouncing ideas off each other and I made sure that it reflected me because I wanted it to be a great introduction to who I am.

We’ve obviously only heard a snippet of your sound so far. What about collaborations, is there anyone you would like to collaborate with?

There are so many! A few names are Nasty C, Rema, Koffee, Burna Boy, Drake, PARTYNEXTDOOR, Doja Cat, Chloe x Halle, Stormzy, Skepta – there are so many! I can’t wait to have that type of conversation, it’s exciting!

Putting the music aside, I hear you are quite the creative! Even looking through your TikTok and Instagram you can see this! What else does Tyla like to do?

I’m a very creative person! I was the little Theatre kid! I did Arts, Drama and Choir – my best friend and I were the Head of Culture for the school, so I was THAT kid! I love drawing, dancing, singing, and acting – anything creative is where my heart lies!

What else can we expect to see from you this coming year?

I don’t even know what to expect! When we released the video, we did not expect it to go this fast, although we prayed for an amazing response, which we are receiving, we did not expect this! It was crazy! I have never left South Africa and I know for sure by the grace of God you guys can expect me to reach somewhere out of South Africa and perform!

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Words: Elle Evans

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