The 66th Grammy Awards saw the introduction of the Best African Music Performance category. The groundbreaking category saw South Africa’s rising star Tyla etched her name in history by claiming the inaugural award for her remarkable song “Water.”
She came up against African heavyweights like Davido, Burna Boy, Asake, and Ayra Starr to win the category. Justifiably, Tyla was overjoyed as the first winner when she accepted the Award on Sunday night. “This is crazy! I never thought I’d say I won a Grammy at 22 years old!” she exclaimed.
Behind the success of Tyla’s hit song is British-Ghanaian song producer Sammy Soso, who played a crucial role in making this award-winning hit. The producer has often kept a low profile but he is a Grammy-nominated record & vocal producer, songwriter, engineer and DJ, according to his profile.
He is behind the “UK Top 15” single “Transforming” by KSI, which he created in 2016. He also teamed up with Grime MC JME and Grammy-winning producer P2J producing “Pull UP.” He and P2J worked with one of Africa’s biggest stars Wizkid.
They worked on “Sweet One” & “Grace” for the album “Made In Lagos,” including his single “Bad To Me”. He has also worked with artists like Omah Lay, Young T& Bugsey, and Blxst as well as Headie One, Tion Wayne Dreya Mac, and Pa Salieu.
While in his teens, SoSo was part of a multi-media enterprise where he gained the skills required to become a DJ as he performed in big clubs from “Rep Your Country” to Julie Adenuga’s “Don’t @ Me”. SoSo was first nominated for a Grammy in 2021 for Best Global Music album following his work on Made In Lagos by Wizkid. He and Tyla have also earned a nod at the 2024 BRIT Awards.
Soso and Tyla co-wrote “Water” with Tricky Stewart, an American producer and songwriter who has worked with Beyoncé, Rihanna and other big names in music. Following its release in July 2023, a viral dance challenge on TikTok emerged and “Water” entered the singles charts worldwide.
“South Africa won today but Nigeria will win on Wednesday where it matters most” one user wrote on X.
After beating four Nigerians to win the Best African Music Performance category, Nigerians have called on their national team, the Super Eagles, to avenge them.
“No Nigerian won a Grammy, but a South African won. This is Nigerians being generous so that when we win them in AFCON, they will have something to banter with,” another user wrote on X.