Tyla is COSMOPOLITAN’s Summer 2024 Issue Cover Star!

Posted on April 30, 2024


All eyes are on Tyla, the new Goddess of pop. With a shiny new Grammy, a hear-it-everywhere-you-go hit in “Water,” and a sense of confidence she could basically bottle and sell, the star has been drawing comparisons to Rihanna since her debut. But while she’s flattered, she has a sound—and story—all her own. For COSMOPOLITAN’s Summer 2024 Issue cover story, author and journalist Elaine Welteroth goes in-depth with Tyla, who gets into all of it, making it clear that this twenty-two-year-old pop sensation isn’t interested in being a wide-eyed ingenue—she always knew she’d get here. Plus, Tyla goes on a journey through her most iconic career moments in an episode of the COSMOPOLITAN video series, The Breakdown, reminiscing on the night of her Grammy win and an adorable 11-year-old Justin Bieber cover that she’s tried to delete multiple times (and we’re all thankful she couldn’t!).





On how her life has changed since “Water” came out: “So many things have changed. I still live in South Africa, but I was able to move my parents, my family. Now they’re in a safer area. My family came to Dubai with me. I was able to bring them to Europe. I’m able to show my parents the world at this age, you know? Years back, I was crying on my parents’ bed, saying, ‘Can I sing, please? Can I just do this? I don’t want to go to university.’ Now they are watching me win and they are seeing plaques and posters. The first time my parents got to be in America, they saw their daughter win a Grammy.”

On rumors that she’s in the Illuminati: “People already think I’m in the Illuminati? Oh, now. I know some people think that’s the only way, but it really isn’t. God is the center of everything that we are doing, and clearly, it’s working.”

On postponing her upcoming tour due to a back injury: “Yeah, unfortunately, I had to postpone the tour. Obviously, I wanted to do all the shows, but it didn’t really make sense considering the injury and the recommendations from the doctor. I’ll be back on it very soon, and I will be giving my Tygers the best show ever. I just need to slow down a bit more and just be easy on myself. I’m still recovering. At least I have medicine that helps ease the pain. It sucks, but I know God’s going to bring me out of it.”

On entertaining at family get-togethers while she was growing up: “Every single time, I was there performing. My mom would just be like, ‘Everybody gather, Tyla’s going to sing.’ I’d give them Justin Bieber. I’d give them Beyoncé. Adele. I loved singing Adele’s songs. Adele was especially the girl for me. Even in school, the old compositions, I loved Adele’s songs. And Whitney.”

On how her grandmother, also a singer, influenced her career: “I love my gran so much. She would always tell us stories about being a singer and how she would have to basically sing to support her family. She’d take long bus rides to competitions and win. All those stories always inspired me and made me work harder to get to where I want to be years from now. My gran always pushed me. Always. I would sing a song and she’d make me sing it over and over again, like, ‘Sing it again. Practice. Do this.’ So I’m so happy that she’s also able to experience this now. Because these dreams aren’t only my dreams; they’re so many South Africans’ dreams. My gran always speaks about it: ‘I can’t believe, Tyla. I’m so proud of you. You made something that never felt real real.’”

On wanting to be a truly global African pop star: “When I was younger, I would always speak about pop culture and what we would like to see from artists and what’s missing. An African pop star [is what was missing]. Like, how has that not happened yet? People have an idea of Africa and it is very stereotypical. They see it as animals everywhere or think we’re hungry, we’re thirsty. It’s just so boring! We want to change that narrative. We want people to see Africa for really what it is. We have our fashion, our stylists, our creators, our artists, our producers. We have so much and we just need the eyes. I’m happy that people are paying attention—it’s amazing. But we need more people to see Africa for what it is and not just what you guys have learned in textbooks and on National Geographic.”

On not feeling pressure to conform to a more American sound or style in any way: “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. I also feel like we are changing the way people see pop right now because “Water” is an African song. Afrobeats has a log drum sound and it’s in the Billboard Hot 100 with all pop songs. It’s amazing.”

On the persistent comparisons to Rihanna: “It’s flattering because Rihanna is Rihanna. It’s a compliment. But at the same time, 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. So I’m fine with it now. 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.”

 On what she represents: “I represent people that didn’t know they could make it in America. I thought you had to be American to be famous. That’s why I loved Rihanna, because I was like, ‘Okay, she came from somewhere else and she did it.’”

The Summer 2024 Issue of COSMOPOLITAN featuring Tyla hits newsstands nationwide on May 7.


[Photo Credit: Amber Asaly for Cosmopolitan Magazine]

Please review our Community Guidelines before posting a comment. Thank you!

blog comments powered by Disqus