Temilade Openiyi (born 11 June, 1995), known professionally as Tems, is a Nigerian singer, songwriter, and record producer.[1][2] She rose to prominence after she was featured on Wizkid's 2020 single "Essence", which reached the top ten of the Billboard Hot 100 after the release of a remixed version with an additional feature from Justin Bieber, and earned her a Grammy Award nomination.[3] That same year, she was featured on Drake's song, "Fountains".

Tems
Tems on NdaniTV Sessions -cropped.png
Tems on NdaniTV Sessions
Background information
Birth nameTemilade Openiyi
Also known asTems Baby
Born (1995-06-11) 11 June 1995 (age 27)
Lagos, Nigeria
Genres
Occupations
  • Singer
  • songwriter
  • record producer
Years active2018–present
Labels

On 25 September 2020, she released her debut extended play, For Broken Ears. Tems released her second extended play, If Orange Was a Place (2021), after being signed to RCA Records.[4] In 2022, Tems' vocals from her song "Higher" were sampled by Future on his single, "Wait for U", which led to her being credited as a featured artist alongside Drake on the song. It debuted atop the Billboard Hot 100, making her the first African artist to debut at number one and the second Nigerian artist to top the chart.[2] Tems covered Bob Marley's "No Woman, No Cry" for the Black Panther: Wakanda Forever soundtrack, released in July 2022[5] and in the same month her song "Free Mind" from her debut EP debuted on the Hot 100. Tems became one of five notable Nigerian women who made history in the month of July, as she won a BET award.[6]

Throughout her career, Tems has received multiple award nominations, winning two NAACP Image Awards, two BET Awards and two Soul Train Music Awards.[7][8][9]


Early lifeEdit

Temilade Openiyi, was born on 11 June 1995 in Lagos, Nigeria.[10] Born to a Nigerian mother and a British-Nigerian father, her family moved to the United Kingdom shortly after birth. Her parents divorced when she was five. Tems relocated to Nigeria with her mother and brother, they resided in Ilupeju before moving to Lekki then Ajah.[11] Tems attended Dowen College before proceeding to study economics in Monash South Africa, South Africa for her tertiary education.[10][12] At school, she was noticed by her music teacher and learned to play the piano. She practised singing with her brother and often used his guitar accompaniment.[13]

CareerEdit

2018–2021: Career beginnings and extended play'sEdit

In 2018, Tems quit her job to pursue a career in music. She began to learn self production skills on YouTube[12] and on 18 July 2018, she released her debut single, "Mr Rebel", a song which she produced by herself.[13] On 7 August 2019, she released the single "Try Me".[14] In 2020, DJ Edu chose her as one of "ten artists to watch" that year.[15] On 23 April 2020, Tems was featured alongside fellow Nigerian singer Davido on a reworked version of American singer-songwriter Khalid and English electronic music duo Disclosure's single, "Know Your Worth".[16]

On September 25th, 2020, Tems released her debut extended play, For Broken Ears. It was produced primarily by her and the single "Damages" from the EP became another follow up hit to "Try Me", peaking at number one on the Nigerian Apple Music chart and number six on the then-newly launched TurnTable Top 50 chart and garnering five million views on YouTube. On 30 October 2020, Tems was featured on fellow Nigerian singer Wizkid's single, "Essence", from the latter's fourth studio album, Made in Lagos. The song earned her a number one spot on BBC 1Xtra Airplay Chart.[17][18] and also earned her first career entry on Billboard Hot 100 at number 9.[19] Tems won a Soul Train Music Awards,[20] two NAACP Image Awards,[21] and received a Grammy Award nomination for Best Global Music Performance.[22] On 8 November 2020, Tems was included in The Future Awards Africa: Class of 2020.[23]

On 13 August 2021, a reworked version of "Essence", which contains an additional feature from Canadian singer Justin Bieber, was released, which propelled the song to reach number nine on the Billboard Hot 100. On 3 September 2021, Tems was featured on Canadian rapper and singer Drake's song, "Fountains", from the latter's sixth studio album, Certified Lover Boy, which debuted at number 26 on the Hot 100.[24][25] On 15 September 2021, Tems released her second extended play, If Orange Was a Place,after being signed to RCA records.[26] It was primarily produced by GuiltyBeatz, and the single "Crazy Tings" was released five days before and peaked at number three on the UK Afrobeats Singles Chart.[27][28] Later, Tems reached number one on the Billboard Next Big Sound chart[29] and the Billboard Emerging Artists chart.[30]

2022–present: BreakthroughEdit

On 31 March 2022, Apple Music 1 Launched Leading Vibe Radio Show With Tems.[31] On 2 April, its first episode features appearance from Muyiwa Awoniyi, and Tunji Balogun.[32] On 29 April 2022, Tems was featured alongside Drake on American rapper Future's single, "Wait for U", from the latter's ninth studio album, I Never Liked You. The song debuted atop the Hot 100, making Tems the first African female artist to top the chart and more so debut atop the chart.[33] The song samples the song "Higher" from For Broken Ears.[34]

In July 2022, Tems covered Bob Marley's No Woman, No Cry for the upcoming Marvel movie Black Panther: Wakanda Forever soundtrack.[5] On 26 July, Tems gained her fourth Hot 100 with her song "Free Mind" from For Broken Ears debuted on the chart.[35] In July 2022, Tems was announced as a guest artist on Beyoncé's album Renaissance,[36] collaborating on the song "Move" with Grace Jones, becoming her fifth entry on the Hot 100.[37] In October 2022, she co-wrote Rihanna's song "Lift Me Up" for the Black Panther: Wakanda Forever soundtrack. [38]

ArtistryEdit

Tems' mother only allowed her to listen to Christian music when Tems was a child. Later in her teenage years, she became interested in R&B and hip hop music. She listened to Destiny's Child, Beyoncé, Lil Wayne, and Aaliyah, and covered Alicia Keys' 2004 single, "If I Ain't Got You", in a live performance. Growing up she was also interested in artists such as Burna Boy, Lauryn Hill, Adele, Rihanna, Coldplay, Paramore, and Asa.[11] At the age of 15, she stopped listening to other artists in search of her own identity, because "I wanted to learn how to attack a song from what I was feeling, not what Beyoncé would do or anyone else".[39] Her voice has been described as deep, velvety, and androgynous.[39][11]

Legal issuesEdit

On 14 December 2020, Tems was arrested alongside fellow Nigerian singer Omah Lay after they performed in a show in Uganda. The Ugandan police authority identified violation of COVID-19 lockdown protocols as the reason for their arrests, but the two artists felt they were set up.[40][41] Two days later, the Ugandan government released them, apologised for the arrests, and dropped the charges.[42]

DiscographyEdit

Extended playsEdit

List of EPs, with release date and label shown
Title EP details
For Broken Ears
  • Released: 25 September 2020
  • Label: Leading Vibes
  • Formats: Digital download, streaming
If Orange Was a Place
  • Released: 15 September 2021
  • Label: Since '93, RCA
  • Formats: Digital download, streaming

SinglesEdit

As lead artistEdit

List of singles as lead artist, with year released and album shown
Title Year Peak chart positions Certifications Album
US
[43]
US
R&B/HH

[44]
US
R&B

[45]
US World
[46]
"Mr Rebel" 2018 Non-album singles
"Looku Looku" 2019
"Try Me"
"These Days" 2020
"Damages" For Broken Ears
"Crazy Tings" 2021 If Orange Was a Place
"No Woman, No Cry"
(with Marvel)
2022 1 Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
"Free Mind" 46 12 4 For Broken Ears
"—" denotes a recording that did not chart or was not released in that territory.

As featured artistEdit

List of singles as featured artist, with year released, selected chart positions, certifications, and album name shown
Title Year Peak chart positions Certifications Album
CAN
[48]
IRE
[49]
NZ
[50]
POR
[51]
SWE
Heat.

[52]
SWI
[53]
UK
[54]
US
[55]
US
R&B/HH

[56]
WW
[57]
"Know Your Worth"
(Khalid and Disclosure featuring Davido and Tems)
2020 [A] Non-album singles
"Essence"
(Wizkid featuring Tems or also Justin Bieber)
2021 30 41 15 108 1 95 16 9 3 28 Made in Lagos
"Wait for U"
(Future featuring Drake and Tems)
2022 3 21 7 68 1 34 8 1 1 2 I Never Liked You
"—" denotes a recording that did not chart or was not released in that territory.

Other charted songsEdit

List of other charted songs, with year released, selected chart positions, and album name shown
Title Year Peak chart positions Album
CAN
[65]
AUS
[66]
FRA
[67]
POR
[51]
SWE
Heat.

[68]
UK
Stream.

[69]
US
[70]
US
R&B/HH

[71]
US
R&B

[72]
WW
[73]
"Fountains"
(Drake featuring Tems)
2021 36 36 70 43 7 23 26 18 2 26 Certified Lover Boy
"Found"
(featuring Brent Faiyaz)
17 If Orange Was a Place
"Move"
(Beyoncé featuring Grace Jones and Tems)
2022 72 76 55 22 15 53 Renaissance
"—" denotes a recording that did not chart or was not released in that territory.

Awards and nominationsEdit

Year Award Category Nominee/work Result Ref
2019 The Headies Best Vocal Performance (Female) "Mr Rebel" Nominated [74]
Best Alternative Song Nominated
2020 City People Music Award Next Rated Artiste (Female) Herself Nominated [75][76]
The Headies Next Rated Nominated [77]
The Future Awards Africa Prize for Music Nominated [78]
2021 BET Awards Best New International Act Nominated [79][80]
MTV Africa Music Award Best Breakthrough Act Pending [81]
Net Honours Most Played Alternative Song "Damages" Won [82]
All Africa Music Awards Best Female Artist in Western Africa Herself Nominated [83][84][85]
Best African Collaboration "Essence"

(Wizkid featuring Tems)

Won
Song of the Year Won
Best Artist, Duo or Group in African RnB & Soul Nominated
"Damages" Nominated
Breakout Artist of the Year Herself Nominated
African Entertainment Awards USA Best Female Artist Won [86]
Artist of the Year Nominated
Best Female Artist – Central/West Africa Nominated
Best Collaboration "Essence"

(Wizkid featuring Tems)

Won
Best Video Won
Song of the Year Won
MTV Europe Music Awards Best African Act Herself Nominated [87]
Soul Train Music Awards Best Collaboration "Essence"

(Wizkid featuring Tems)

Won [20]
Video of the Year Nominated
Song of the Year Nominated
The Ashford & Simpson Songwriter's Award Nominated
Best New Artist Herself Nominated
Afro X Digitals Awards Pop Song of the Year (Female) "Damages" Won [88]
The Beatz Awards Songwriter of the Year Herself for "Damages" Nominated
2022 Grammy Awards Best Global Music Performance "Essence"

(Wizkid featuring Tems)

Nominated [22][89]
NAACP Image Awards Outstanding New Artist Herself Nominated [21]
Outstanding Music Video/Visual Album "Essence"

(Wizkid featuring Tems)

Won
Outstanding International Song Won
Nickelodeon Kids Choice Award Favorite Global Music Star Herself Nominated [90]
The Headies Best Vocal Performance (Female) Herself for "Essence" Nominated [91]
Best Collaboration "Essence"

(Wizkid featuring Tems)

Won
Best R&B Album If Orange Was a Place Won
Best Female Artiste Herself Won
BET Awards Best New Artist Nominated [92][93][94]
Best International Act Won
Best Collaboration "Essence"

(Wizkid featuring Tems)

Won
O2 Silver Clef Awards International Award Herself Won [95]
BMI London Awards Impact Award Won [96]
American Music Awards Favorite Afrobeats Artist Herself Nominated [97]
Collaboration of the Year "Wait for U"

(Future featuring Drake & Tems)

Nominated
Favorite Hip-Hop Song Won
Favorite R&B Song "Essence"

(Wizkid featuring Tems)

Won
MTV Europe Music Awards Best New Act Herself Nominated [98]
Best African Act Nominated
Soul Train Music Awards Best Collaboration "Move"

(Beyoncé featuring Grace Jones & Tems)

Nominated [99]
Best R&B/Soul Female Artist Herself Nominated
Best New Artist Won
2023 Grammy Awards Album of the Year Renaissance

(as a featured artist)

Pending [100]
Best Rap Song "Wait for U" Pending
Best Melodic Rap Performance Pending

NotesEdit

  1. ^ "Know Your Worth" did not enter the NZ Top 40 Singles Chart, but peaked at number 20 on the NZ Hot Singles Chart.[58]

ReferencesEdit

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External linksEdit