Tems: Nigeria’s alternate music artiste making waves globally
If you are a lover of the alternative music genre, then you will cherish Nigeria’s Temilade Openiyi for her mastery of the genre.
While Alternative Music is a bit distinct from the mainstream pop, Temilade who stages as Tems, brings to life the essence of the genre with her creative ingenuity.
Her fans have reasons for following the female act since her debut in 2018, especially for making waves in Alternate Music, a genre hitherto dominated by her male counterparts.
Again, the fast-rising Tems is multitalented. She stands her ground as a Nigerian alternative R&B singer, songwriter and ambitious record producer.
The ‘cool chick’, which she really is, began producing her songs at age 20 and in 2018, she released her debut single titled, ‘Mr Rebel’, a work that instantly put her on the map as one of Nigeria’s most exciting musical voices.
After the success of a single release, in 2019, she released a single titled ‘Looku Looku’, which showed music pundits that there is a rising star to look out for.
Yet again, in August 2019, the pioneering artiste and Lagos Island native released ‘Try Me’, another hit single, which truly established her trademark alternative R&B and neo-soul sound, birthing both global interest and a bedlam of excitement.
Not resting on her oars, on September 18, 2020, Tems released the first single, ‘Damages’ of her debut EP (extended play) titled ‘For Broken Ears’, the video was released September 24, 2020, while the entire EP was released on September 25, 2020 on all platforms.
As expected, her sustained efforts earned her mainstream recognition and awareness within a short time in her budding career.
Also, there has been heavy social media presence and incredible views on her musical projects. One of the laudations and admiration came from Pitchfork, an American online music publication, which noted that, ”She is a star and every single makes this fact more clear”.
As well, The Fader, an American music, style and culture magazine, also believes that, ”Though she just has a handful of released songs, the singer has quickly become one of her country’s shining stars with a voice that’s hard to resist”.
Of course, Tems has collaborated with a number of artistes including; Wizkid, Khalid, Show Dem Camp, Lady Donli, Black Magic, Mannywellz, DRB Lasgidi and Odunsi (the engine).
Top among the collaborations was in April 2020 when Tems broke new grounds as Khalid featured her alongside Davido on the remix to his single, ‘Know Your Worth’.
Considering the over three million views on her body of work and plaudits from international musical authorities, the young singer, songwriter and producer is not afraid of brandishing her alternate R&B sounds, a fusion of neo-soul and colours of home with traditional Nigerian sounds.
If you follow her music, you will observe that she shines through with fresh sounds that are reflections of alternative R&B, Neo-soul and a sprinkle of the traditional Nigerian flavour.
For instance, ‘Damages’, her hit single, featured sounds that are sweetly intimate, yet global in nature.
In the single, which was produced by Spax, Tems embraced the youth culture, engaging drums, instrumentals, and making it an easy listen for all music lovers.
She honed her music production skills with ‘For Broken Ears’ EP, which she served six beautiful tracks, as well as, produced four out of the six tracks.
However, June 26, 2022 will remain memorable for Tems. It was her day of glory as she made history as the First Female Best International Act at 2022 Bet Awards.
The award, which was held on June 26, 2022, at the Microsoft Theatre, Los Angeles, US, is the annual melting pot of black culture and entertainment celebrating talent and culture from across all corners of the world.
Tems, who was nominated across three categories, Best International Act, Best Collaboration, and Best New Artiste, was announced the winner in two of the categories. The multi-genre star, who made history on Sunday as the first African woman to win the Best International Award beat her Nigerian contemporary, Fireboy DML; South African sensation, Major League DJZ; British rap queen, Little Simz; Congolese star, FallyIpupa; French “Solaar,” Dinos; Award-winning British rapper and lyricist, Dave; Cameroonian-French singer, Tayc and Brazilian sensation, Ludmilla, who were also nominated for the category.
Receiving her award, she said, “Thank you so much for this, thank you so much. It is an honour, this is my first award that shows that I am winning something.” The 27-year-old also won the Best Collaboration Award alongside music legends Wizkid and Justin Bieber, for the global-chart-topping masterpiece, “Essence”.
Commenting on her music, she explained that, ”The world is currently in a very difficult place and I understand the role music plays in it. I made For Broken Ears for the purpose of healing. A lot of minds have been broken due to what people have heard over time, but I hope this EP offers an avenue for true cleansing”.
So far, her efforts have earned her nominations for ‘Best Alternative Song’ & ‘Best Vocal Performance’ at the 2019 Headies awards.
She hopes to further impact the Nigerian music industry and excite her fans with great rhythms and performances this year and years to come.
Be on the lookout for Tems, as she is more than eager to break more barriers.