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South Africa’s Tyla makes historic Billboard Hot 100 debut with Water

The viral hit song Water by South African music star Tyla has debuted on the Billboard Hot 100, after trending for several weeks on TikTok.

Water is the first solo song by a South African musician to appear on the chart since jazz legend Hugh Masekela’s Grazing in the Grass 55 years ago.

But 21-year-old Tyla is South Africa’s youngest musician to appear on the list.

It is the most popular music ranking chart in the US, published weekly.

“Tyla debuts at number 67 on this week’s Hot 100. It is her first career entry on the chart,” US music and entertainment magazine Billboard, which compiles the list, said on Monday, ahead of the release of the week’s list.

An excited Tyla has reacted to the news on X, formerly Twitter.

“I’m a South African girl born and raised in Johannesburg. This is crazy,” she said.

The Billboard Hot 100 list features the top music from across different genres.

Released in July, Water started gaining popularity in August when Tyla, whose full name is Tyla Laura Seethal, started sharing TikTok videos of herself dancing to it.

The song fuses a mix of genres, including Afrobeats, pop, R&B, and Amapiano, a South African style of electronic dance music.

The catchy song has since blown up on TikTok, and has inspired the viral water dance challenge, resulting in it being used more than 500,000 times in videos posted on the app.

The TikTok dance challenge has also popularised the South African Bacardi dance routine to a global audience.

The dance routine, which was created by the South African dance choreographer Lee-ché Janecke, involves a dancer making a series of vibrant movements, including shaking of the hips, belly dancing, twerking and legwork while pouring water down one’s back.

Tyla’s most popular TikTok dance to her song has recorded more than 70 million views.

The song’s video received more than one million views on YouTube on the first day of its release on the platform on 6 October.

This is the first time a song by a South African female artist has achieved this feat, according to World Music Awards.

The song has so far surpassed 3.6 million views on YouTube and attracted 10.7 million monthly Spotify listeners for Tyla.

Water has also ranked on other music charts in the US and UK, including the Billboard Afrobeats and R&B charts.

While Water is the song that has catapulted Tyla to mainstream success and solidified her as one of Africa’s rising musical talents, some of her previous songs have also enjoyed success, including Been Thinking and Girl Next Door, on which she featured Nigerian Afrobeats star Ayra Starr.

Earlier this year, Tyla was also the opening act of Chris Brown’s Under the Influence music tour in Europe.

Amid the ongoing success of Water, Tyla, who plans to release her first album in November, is joining a new generation of global musical talents putting South Africa and the rest of the continent on the global map.


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