Tyla on success, love for her culture and the “flattering” Rihanna comparisons

ABC/John Argueta

“So many things have changed” in Tyla‘s life since her hit “Water” went viral and won a Grammy, but the essence of who she is and the music she makes remains the same.

Speaking to Cosmopolitan, the singer says her success has allowed her to move her family to a safer area and show them the world —  a far cry from the days when she used to beg her parents to let her skip college and pursue singing. “Now they are watching me win and they are seeing plaques and posters,” she notes. “The first time my parents got to be in America, they saw their daughter win a Grammy.”

Tyla still lives in South Africa and continues to have fun with her team despite her newfound popularity. Though she grew up entertaining her family with songs from Justin BieberBeyoncé, Adele and Whitney Houston, she has no desire to adopt more of an American sound.

“People know how much I love my culture and where I’m from. So it’s never been something where I would even want to, because the source is in South Africa,” she says. “I also feel like we are changing the way people see pop right now because ‘Water’ is an African song … It’s amazing.”

Tyla adds she’s flattered by the comparisons to Rihanna — but wants it to be clear she has her own identity.

“I’m my own artist. I’m Tyla. And I know as people get to know me and my music, they will see me as just Tyla,” she says. “People want to tie me to something familiar to them, cool. But at the end of the day, we’re doing something no one’s done before, and it can’t really be compared to anyone.”

 

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