Tyla Yaweh
Credit: Supplied / Chris Villa

The morning I spoke with Tyla Yaweh, he hit a massive career milestone: his collaborative track with Post Malone, ‘Tommy Lee’ debuted a number 65 on the Hot 100 Charts which was also his first career entry into the charts. This achievement clearly had the up-and-coming rapper elated when we talked on the phone, but like any artist trying to make it big in the music industry, he is hungry for more and ready to work for it. The notion of hard work is not lost on the 25-year-old and after moving from Orlando to Los Angeles, Yaweh lived in a car which he now reflects on, telling ICON, “I’m a hustler so [I was] going to figure out how to make money.”

“I want to have fun but I got to go to work.”

Off the back of a mammoth 2019 touring with Post Malone as a support act and now a recently dropped single, the rapper is looking to his second album dubbed ‘Rager Boy’. In the midst of Tyla Yaweh’s rise to stardom, ICON caught up with the artist to speak on sacrifices, unheard touring tales and what we can expect from this next body of music.

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ICON: I’ve been told you were set to be a professional skateboarder growing up. Why the switch to music?

Tyla Yaweh: “I could’ve become a professional skater, but the lifestyle of the music was it. Wiz Khalifa was a big part of my life so watching his life and how he came up, it showed me the blueprint. I was like, ‘Yeah; I want this for myself.’ I love music, I grew up listening to music and wanted to be a rockstar and this is the opportunity. I have to take it.”

You moved from Orlando to LA to pursue a career in music and was living in your car to do so. Would you say that has been one of your biggest sacrifices?

TY: “I was living in cars; I didn’t have a car, so I was sleeping in a homies car and I was sleeping on Venice Beach. I was outside and homeless and didn’t have anywhere to go but I just figured out a way. I’m a hustler so [I was] going to figure out how to make money.”

Are there any other sacrifices you’ve had to make to get to where you are now?

TY: “Oh man, I sacrificed being with my family. It’s hard work and dedication. I want to have fun but I got to go to work. I sacrificed a lot, my whole house in Florida. I drove 36 hours to LA.”

It’s paid off for you so far – you’ve just released Tommy Lee with Post Malone. How did your collaboration with Post Malone come about? I know you were his support act in Australia last year.

TY: “That collaboration, well Post is my brother and really we could’ve done a lot of songs together but really I just wanted to write songs at the right moment and one day I recorded a song called ‘Tommy Lee’ and I had it for a while and we were on tour and I just pulled up on it at the studio and said ‘Yo, see this song here’, and he was like, ‘Yeah, lets record it’. He text Tommy Lee and we just had fun with a bunch of beers and recorded it and got the song structured the right way and everything.”

Are there any wild stories from that tour you can tell us?

TY: “I don’t know if it’s appropriate, but we had some ragers and it’s hard. We’re real rockstars, we bring the party everywhere we go. We have so many memories in Australia, one of the homies were so drunk one time he didn’t know where he was… It just shows how rockstars party.”

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The last couple of shows were cancelled due to the pandemic. What was it like going from these massive shows to being confined at home?

TY: “Honestly, nobody wants to be locked up. We only had a couple days left of the tour so obviously it made me sit back and reflect and chill. Work on my craft again and get back to the music – really make the album the right way and structure it the right way. So, it was a good wind down. It’s horrible what happened but I still found a positive in it of just relaxing.”

Tyla Yaweh performance
AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND – MAY 11: Tyla Yaweh performs on stage opening for Post Malone at Spark Arena on May 11, 2019 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Dave Simpson/WireImage)
How has music assisted you in these trying times at the moment?

TY: “It’s inspired me to create new sounds and embrace happiness. I just want to give people hope through my music and let people express themselves and enjoy life.”

What can we expect from this next album?

TY: “It’s been so fun creating this project, we’re almost done with it, we’re probably like 95 percent done with it. It just sounds so cool and I had fun and it’s a different experience. Just bringing my stories to the world and showing you guys what I’ve been through in the past year. I want to give people something new and fresh.

We’ve got some cool features on this album… I don’t want to give it all up but it’s amazing. The people that are producing are hit makers. It’s going to be fun.”

Do you feel a lot of pressure to back up your debut with another successful second album?

TY: “I don’t feel any pressure at all. I don’t even understand the word pressure. People ask if I feel pressure, and not really because I’m enjoying my life and having fun and everything. [What] I’m doing is natural, it’s not forced and I’m just glad I have a good team behind me and working with me on this record.”

“It’s not me, it’s all of us.”

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What do you hope people take from your next body of work?

TY: “I just want people to enjoy life. I want to bring music back to a point where it was like 2000-2001, I want to bring that feeling back to people. Give them hope and life and real positivity and let people know we are all here together and connected.”

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RAGER BØY 💕

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And where do you see yourself in five years time?

TY: “I definitely want to be a mogul. I want to be a huge rockstar and a bigger leader to the world than I am now. Keep putting out good quality, amazing music.”

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What advice would you someone who used to be in your position and is looking to create and make music and become the next mogul after you. What’s your advice to someone trying to make it into the big time?

TY: “Be yourself, make commitment, don’t let fear ruin your dreams, invest in yourself, stay happy and stay positive. How you create is by going out and connecting to people in the world. Being that ball of energy when you walk into the room. That’s what I did.”

For more from Tyla Yaweh, visit here.

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