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PEOPLE OF THE YEAR 2023

Artist of the Year runners-up: Tyla Seethal, Taylor Swift and Burna Boy

Artist of the Year runners-up: Tyla Seethal, Taylor Swift and Burna Boy
Tyla Seethal. (Photo: Arturo Holmes / Getty Images) | Burna Boy. (Photo: EPA-EFE / GEORGE FREY SHUTTERSTOCK OUT) | Taylor Swift. (Photo: EPA-EFE / SARAH YENESEL)

Influential entertainment stars to keep an eye on in the music industry.

Tyla Seethal

From releasing performative TikTok videos in her Johannesburg home to collaborating with big-time US artists Chris Brown and Travis Scott, Tyla Seethal is now a household name.

Nearly four years ago, as Covid-19 ran rampant, then 18-year-old Seethal halted her studies as a mining engineer to pursue a full-time career as a musician. She quickly became a social media star, which took her to the US, where she would go on to debut at number 67 on the US Billboard Hot 100 this year.

Seethal, who goes by the mononym Tyla, hit the major league in 2021 after signing a deal with the US label Epic Records following the success of her debut single, Getting Late.

The single, which she released in 2019 without professional backing, got more than 6.8 million TikTok views. She is filtering the uniquely South African style of amapiano  into the American pop scene, with her latest summer single, Water, landing her a Grammy nomination for Best African Music Performance.

Tyla regularly expresses her gratitude to her fans on Instagram. “Everything that’s happening has surpassed anything I could have dreamt of,” she wrote on 1 December.

“African music is going global and I’m so blessed to be one of the artists pushing the culture.” – Talia Kincaid

Taylor Swift

She’s moved beyond her country roots in her musical reinventions and is now a huge influence on the music industry. With more than 200 million records sold, she is the most-streamed woman on Spotify and Apple Music, the highest-grossing female performer, and the first billionaire with music as her main source of income. – J Brooks Spector

Burna Boy

The Nigerian pop musician has hit the global big time with standing-room-only concerts in the US and as the star of the Uefa Champions League kick-off. Critics have called his music “savvy and modern but undistracted by obvious crossover moves”. – J Brooks Spector DM

This story first appeared in our weekly Daily Maverick 168 newspaper, which is available countrywide for R29.

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