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Tems: The Rising Nigerian Star Redefining Afrobeat

Nigeria, known for its rich musical heritage and vibrant cultural tapestry, has given birth to numerous international stars. Among these luminaries, Tems stands out as a beacon of contemporary Afrobeat, blending soulful melodies with poignant lyrics that resonate globally.

Early Life and Background

Temilade Openiyi, popularly known as Tems, was born on June 11, 1995, in Lagos, Nigeria. Her musical journey began in her childhood, nurtured by a deep passion for music. Growing up, she was influenced by artists such as Aaliyah, Lauryn Hill, and Burna Boy, whose eclectic styles helped shape her unique sound. Tems attended Dowen College in Lagos before pursuing further studies in Economics at a South African university, where her exposure to diverse musical genres broadened her artistic horizons.

Breakthrough and Musical Style

Tems burst onto the Nigerian music scene with her debut single, “Mr Rebel,” in 2018. The track, characterized by its haunting vocals and rich instrumental arrangement, quickly gained traction, setting the stage for her subsequent releases. Her 2019 hit, “Try Me,” solidified her status as a rising star. The song’s raw emotion and powerful message about resilience and self-belief resonated with a wide audience, propelling her into the limelight.

Her music is a fusion of Afrobeat, R&B, and neo-soul, distinguished by her distinctive voice and introspective lyrics. Tems’ ability to convey deep emotions through her music has earned her comparisons to global icons, yet she remains distinctly original. Her sound is both a homage to her Nigerian roots and a testament to her versatility as an artist.

International Recognition and Collaborations

Tems’ international breakthrough came with her feature on Wizkid‘s “Essence,” a track from his 2020 album “Made in Lagos.” The song became a global sensation, earning critical acclaim and numerous accolades. “Essence” not only topped charts worldwide but also became the first Nigerian song to break into the Billboard Hot 100. This milestone catapulted Tems into the international music arena, showcasing her talent to a global audience.

In 2021, Tems was featured on “Fountains,” a track from Drake’s highly anticipated album “Certified Lover Boy.” This collaboration further cemented her status as an international star. Her ability to seamlessly blend her sound with that of global artists highlights her versatility and broad appeal.

Awards and Achievements

Tems’ meteoric rise has been marked by several accolades. In 2021, she won the BET Award for Best International Act and received nominations at the Soul Train Music Awards and the NAACP Image Awards. Her contribution to “Essence” also earned her a Grammy nomination, making her one of the most celebrated Nigerian artists on the global stage.

Impact and Future Prospects

Beyond her musical prowess, Tems is a symbol of the new generation of African artists breaking barriers and redefining the global music landscape. Her success has inspired many young Nigerian artists to pursue their dreams and embrace their unique sound. Tems’ story is one of perseverance, authenticity, and the power of music to transcend borders.

Looking ahead, Tems shows no signs of slowing down. With a growing international fanbase and a string of successful releases, she is poised to become one of the defining voices of her generation. Her upcoming projects promise to further explore and expand the boundaries of Afrobeat, continuing her journey as a trailblazer in the global music industry.


Tems’ rise to stardom is a testament to her talent, hard work, and the universal appeal of her music. As she continues to make waves on the international stage, she not only elevates Nigerian music but also serves as an inspiration to countless aspiring artists. In a world that increasingly celebrates diversity and innovation in music, Tems stands out as a true icon, heralding a bright future for Afrobeat and beyond.

Sodiq Soda
Sodiq Soda
I’m Sodiq Oluwadamilare Soda, a Web Developer/Web Design also a Graphic Designer.


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