Tyla’s Transparency about her health is Refreshing

ultimately, some things are more important than others and Tyla's health is top priority

Tyla is basking in the limelight right now, and deservedly so. Earlier this year, she brought  home the Grammy for  Best African Music Performance, but before “Water” added Grammy winner to Tyla’s list of accomplishments, the Sammy Soso production earned her the ears of millions of social media users across the globe. Joining the likes of CKay’s “love nwantiti (ah ah ah)” and the Selena Gomez-assisted “Calm Down,” the Johannesburg-born singer soundtracked the year with her charming vocals and hypnotic choreography. A confident exploration of seduction and femininity, “Water” took Tyla from a viral TikTok sensation to a Billboard chart topper with millions of streams. She leveraged the momentum with remixes from Travis Scott and Marshmello, followed by a self-titled EP with standout tracks like “Truth or Dare.” And after all was said and done, she announced her debut album currently slated for release on March 22, 2024, alongside her world tour that included a stop at Coachella. Tyla was living the dream but despite the newly added accolades, she decided to step back from all upcoming appearances for health reasons. 


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A post shared by Tyla (@tyla)

In an open letter to her fans, who she also calls ‘tygers’, Tyla shared: “I am absolutely heartbroken to have to say this but as of right now, I won’t be able to proceed with the tour. In consulting with medical professionals, it’s becoming increasingly clear that continuing any music festivals or tour dates would jeopardise my long term health and safety.” The singer  explained that this injury is something she’s silently dealt with for the past year and promised a safe return by summer. While some shared messages of support wishing her a speedy recovery, others  suggested the tour cancellation was as  a result of low ticket sales, rather than an illness. The general consensus for the latter audience made claims bordering on the fact that Tyla going on tour “after one hit song” is a poor decision from her management. But these baseless takes show just how  many new listeners aren’t privy to her early days, pre “Water.” 

The 22-year-old  earned early domestic success with her 2019 debut, the Kooldrink-assisted “Getting Late.” A dreamy introduction, buoyed by twinkling keys and the rising prominence of lush log drums set the tone for Tyla’s soothing vocals on the Amapiano record. In 2021, Tyla signed with Epic Records, a subsidiary of Sony Music Entertainment. She sat amongst international household names like Future and Travis Scott, evidently primed for the success she currently enjoys. While these moments weren’t as wild as her debut, Tyla’s “To Last” and “Overdue” for South African Netflix series, ‘Blood and Water,’ proved that she was just a few right moves away from becoming a global phenomenon. Her talent on one hand, Tyla’s journey to stardom was backed by her charming and authentic personality, and once the forces aligned, she easily joined the ranks of  contemporary R&B/pop legends  like Aaliyah and Amerie. 

Knowing that Tyla is more than ready to embark  on any small or large scale tours, it’s also important  to remember the primary purpose of a tour in the first place. Live music, especially delivered across multiple parts of the world, is essentially a way for artists to connect to their fans and build a wider network within the music industry. It takes that sometimes impersonal interaction of streaming your favourite artist’s music through a listening device and  translates those emotions in real time, over a beautifully set up sound system and most importantly, amongst listeners like yourself. Things have  been back to “normal” for a while now following months of COVID restrictions and concerts are in full swing with different precautionary measures in place. Still, a well organised live event relies on a series of factors and people, whose  deliverables include but are not exhaustive of; securing  a venue, ticketing, covering logistics like sound and lighting crews, transportation, hospitality, press, hair & makeup, choreographers, backup dancers & singers, artist’s band, sound engineer, stage designers, private security, medical staff and any other contingencies.


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Bearing all that — including financial investments and pre-bookings — in mind, it’s safe to assume that a tour like the one Tyla was likely planning, would only be cancelled or postponed due to the most  severe of circumstances. All this put into place, the well oiled machine that results in a successful tour must prioritise the health and safety of the star of the show. A typical runtime per show spans across one to three hours of production. For tours stacked with back to back dates, the physical demands are uncountable. And for Tyla who planned to visit 33 cities across UK, Europe and North America, it’s easy to see why she’s refusing to embark on this tour while having health concerns. 

Tyla isn’t the only artist who has had to tread the waters of live performance carefully, out of concern for her health. Ahead of his Tafawa Balewa Square performance in April 2023, we spoke to Davido about his third iteration to the series and what was essentially a comeback from a grief-induced hiatus, ‘Timeless.’ He was basking in the limelight with Musa Keys-assisted “UNAVAILABLE” and “FEEL,” nudging a space into Afropop’s trending soundscape and crossing the borders to soundtrack millions of videos on Tiktok, but Davido could barely express this excitement. For How Davido Got His Voice Back, Davido sipped some tea and cut out all forms of non-essential verbal communication, on doctors orders. Similarly, many live and social media attendees for Beyoncé’s RENAISSANCE tour can attest to the gradual progress in her performance delivery, initially stunted by a knee injury, after nearly 30 years of challenging choreography. Same goes for Rihanna’s 2016 ANTI world tour which was postponed for bronchitis or Lady Gaga in 2013 after suffering a labral tear of the right hip caused by strenuous movement. The list is endless but the pattern is clear. Despite the high stakes, these artists chose to prioritise what was truly important and as the record shows, they were better for it. 

Some on the other hand, have made a lifestyle of globe-trotting without breaks. Artists like  Burna Boy are closing out various venues at breakneck pace, raising questions about how much is too much when it comes to delivering that live experience. For her part, Tyla has recognised her personal limits and decided to take a step back as opposed to postponing the doomsday only to deliver mediocre performances. Her  transparency is particularly commendable considering the ghosting we’ve grown accustomed to by artists we look up to. On one hand, it’s true that  celebrities don’t owe us every detail of  their personal lives. But when the information in question affects their supporters directly,  as is the case with purchased tickets, performers owe it to their fans to be  as open and honest as possible. And even without giving too much away, Tyla did just that. We still don’t know exactly what she’s dealing with,  but the singer offered just enough information to relay the severity of the situation, enforce her personal boundaries and  emphasise that she knows just how inconvenient  her absence will be. If anything, her statement is telling of the sort of relationship Tyla intends to build with her audience in the years to come. 

The million dollar question remains, will Tyla be able to achieve the comeback she imagines? Considering the currently oversaturated music industry, where hundreds of new entrants are vying for attention from an industry highly fixated on “the next big thing,” has Tyla built enough momentum to return even stronger? Only time will  tell. One thing’s for certain, though, Tyla’s health and recovery are priority. 

[Featured Image Credits/The NATIVE]