Temilade Openiyi (born 11 June 1995), known professionally as Tems, is a Nigerian singer, songwriter, and record producer.[2][3] She rose to prominence after being featured on Wizkid's 2020 single "Essence", which peaked at number 8 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart following the release of the remix version with Justin Bieber. The song earned her a Grammy Award nomination.[4][3] That same year, she was featured on the song "Fountains" by Canadian rapper Drake.[5]

Tems on NdaniTV Sessions in 2019
Tems on NdaniTV Sessions in 2019
Background information
Birth nameTemilade Openiyi
Born (1995-06-11) 11 June 1995 (age 28)
Lagos, Nigeria
  • Singer
  • songwriter
  • record producer
Years active2018–present
  • Since ’93
  • RCA
  • Leading Vibes

In 2020, Tems released her debut extended play, For Broken Ears. Her second extended play, If Orange Was a Place (2021), was released after she signed a record deal with RCA Records.[6] 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.[4][7] The song earned her the Grammy Award for Best Melodic Rap Performance.[8] Tems covered Bob Marley's "No Woman, No Cry" for the Black Panther: Wakanda Forever soundtrack album in July 2022[9] and in the same month, her song "Free Mind" from her debut EP which debuted on the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at number 46 and breaking the female record for longest charting number one song on R&B/Hip-Hop Airplay chart.[10][11] She also co-wrote the song "Lift Me Up" by Rihanna, which earned her nominations for the Academy Award for Best Original Song,[12] the Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song[13] and the Grammy Award for Best Song Written for Visual Media.[14][15]

In 2024, Tems announced that her upcoming debut studio album Born in the Wild will be released on 7th June and will be supported by Born in the Wild World Tour.[16][17]

Throughout her career, Tems has received many accolades, including a Grammy Award, a Billboard Women in Music Award, four NAACP Image Awards, three BET Awards[18] and three Soul Train Music Awards.[19][20][21][18][22][23]

Early life edit

Temilade Openiyi was born on 11 June 1995, in Lagos, Nigeria, and when she was an infant, her family relocated to the UK; however, when she was five years old, her family returned to Nigeria following her parents' separation.[24][25] Tems resided in Ilupeju before moving to Lekki and later Ajah.[26] Tems attended Dowen College for her secondary education and Monash South Africa for her tertiary education.[25][27][28] At school, she was noticed by her music teacher and learned to play the piano. She practiced singing with her brother and often used his guitar accompaniment.[29][30]

Career edit

2018–2021: Career beginnings and extended plays edit

In 2018, Tems quit her job to pursue a career in music. She began to learn self production skills on YouTube[27] and on 18 July 2018, she released her debut single, "Mr Rebel", a song which she produced by herself.[29] On 7 August 2019, she released the single "Try Me".[24] In 2020, DJ Edu chose her as one of "ten artists to watch" that year.[31] 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".[32][33]

On 25 September 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.[34][35] and also earned her first career entry on Billboard Hot 100 at number 9.[36] Tems won a Soul Train Music Awards,[37] two NAACP Image Awards,[38] and received a Grammy Award nomination for Best Global Music Performance.[39] On 8 November 2020, Tems was included in The Future Awards Africa: Class of 2020.[40]

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.[41][42] On 15 September 2021, Tems released her second extended play, If Orange Was a Place, after being signed to RCA records.[43] 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.[44][45] Later, Tems reached number one on the Billboard Next Big Sound chart[46] and the Billboard Emerging Artists chart.[47]

2022–present: Breakthrough edit

On 31 March 2022, Apple Music 1 Launched Leading Vibe Radio Show With Tems.[48] On 2 April, its first episode features an appearance from Muyiwa Awoniyi, and Tunji Balogun.[49] 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.[50] The song samples the song "Higher" from For Broken Ears.[51]

In July 2022, Tems covered Bob Marley's No Woman, No Cry for the Marvel movie Black Panther: Wakanda Forever soundtrack which she was credited alongside Rihanna.[9] On 26 July, Tems gained her fourth Hot 100 with her song "Free Mind" from For Broken Ears which debuted on the chart peaking at number 44 and number 1 on the U.S. Afrobeats song chart. It earned her her first platinum and silver solo certification in the United States and United Kingdom.[52][53][54] In July 2022, Tems was announced as a guest artist on Beyoncé's album Renaissance,[55] collaborating on the song "Move" with Grace Jones, becoming her fifth entry on the Hot 100.[56] In October 2022, she co-wrote Rihanna's song "Lift Me Up" for the Black Panther: Wakanda Forever soundtrack.[57]

Ludwig Göransson, Rihanna, Ryan Coogler, and Tems were nominated at the 2023 Golden Globe Awards for "Best Original Song — Motion Picture" for "Lift Me Up" from the film Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.[58][59]

In 2023, Future, Drake, and Tems won the Grammy Award for Best Melodic Rap Performance for "Wait for U." Thus, it marks the first female Nigerian artiste to win a Grammy Award.[60][61]

Tems won the Female MVP award at the Soundcity MVP Awards, which were held at the Eko Convention Centre in Lagos in February 2023.[62] In May 2023, Tems was invited to fashion's biggest night out, the Met Gala.

Furthermore, Tems was listed on the 2023 Time 100 Next list[63][64]

On 5 October 2023, Tems released the single "Me & U".[65] The song marks Tems's first solo output since If Orange Was a Place, excluding her cover of Bob Marley's "No Woman, No Cry" which was released in 2022.[66] Me & U peaked at number 1 on the UK Afrobeats Singles Chart and number 34 on the UK Singles Chart while in the United States, it reached number 10 on Billboard Bubbling Under Hot 100 chart.[67]

On 5 December 2023, Tems announced that her second single of the year "Not an Angel" would be released on 8 December.[68]

In March 2024, Tems became the first African singer to be awarded a Billboard Women in Music Award in which she received under the Breakthrough category.[22][69] Tems debut studio album Born in the Wild is scheduled for release on 7 June and will be supported by a world tour.[70] The lead single "Love Me JeJe" off the album was announced and previewed on Tems debut Coachella set and was released on 25 April.[71][72]

Artistry edit

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.[26] 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".[73] Her voice has been described as deep, velvety, and androgynous.[73][26]

Legal issues edit

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.[74][75] Two days later, the Ugandan government released them, and apologised for the arrests and dropped the charges against the two artists.[76]

Discography edit

Studio albums

Extended plays

Awards and nominations edit

On February 5, 2023, Tems won a Best Melodic Rap Performance Grammy for her collaboration on "Wait For U" with Future and Drake.[77][78] That same month, she won the Female MVP award at the Soundcity MVP Awards held at the Eko Convention Centre in Lagos.[79]

References edit

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External links edit