This article was updated on the 16th of November, 2022.
Temilade Openiyi is a woman of many firsts. As a singer, songwriter and record producer, she is making great strides that one could only ascribe to immense talent and grace. The fact that we are currently getting to watch a mega superstar in the making flourish, is absolutely amazing to see. At the age of 27, Tems’ feats practically know no bounds. She currently has one of the most distinct voices in the music industry and she is building herself up to be a force to be reckoned with. Her most successful endeavours in the past year are a great indication of this.
The Rise of the Crossover Hit
It kicked off in October 2020 when she was featured on the hit song, Essence, off Wizkid’s 4th studio album, Made In Lagos. This was shortly after she released her first project, For Broken Ears. After a few months of the album being out, Essence emerged as the most popular song from the album. No surprise it made Barack Obama’s list of favourite songs in 2020. Almost a year later, in the summer of 2021, the track had blown up so much, it earned the title as the song of the summer. Essence was later nominated under the Best Global Performance category at the 64th Grammy Awards, earning Tems and Wizkid their first Grammy nominations. This was the beginning of Tems’ steady incline.
During this period we started to see a lot more of Tems’ songs in media circulation. She was featured on the song Fountains on Drake’s Certified Lover Boy album. And she also dropped a follow up project, If Orange Was A Place in September. She was literally everywhere. Songs like Free Mind and Vibe Out began to make its rounds on social media, being used as the backing tracks to people’s reels and tiktoks. Tems has since then been associated with fashion brands such as Reebok and Tommy Jeans. She has also performed on the Jimmy Kimmel Show, and at concerts such as Glastonbury and Lollapalooza Paris. It was also at this time that her fan-base started to grow. The ‘Rebels,’ named after Tems’ very first single Mr Rebel, are steadily behind Tems. She has garnered support from all over the world.
The Higher Sample
Tems’ international presence was bound to only go up from there. In April, she was featured on Future’s Wait For You alongside Drake. The track peaked at Number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 charts, making Tems the first Nigerian to have a #1 spot on the Billboard charts; a record-breaking feat. The song has also bagged an MTV Video Music Award nomination. The feature was sourced from Tems’ solo track, Higher, and according to Future, once he heard it he couldn’t pass up the opportunity to have it on his album. From his tweet spiel about Tems, it’s clear he was as enraptured with her voice as the rest of us.
IT Girl At The BET Awards
She scored a nomination in 3 categories at the BET Awards; Best International Act, Best Collaboration and Best New Artist. At the 2022 BET Awards, Tems took home awards for Best International Act and Best Collaboration for Essence. This was the first time a Nigerian female artist won a BET award; it was also her first win. In her heartfelt acceptance speech, she acknowledged how significant the moment was and also dared women and young girls everywhere to chase their dreams.
A few weeks ago, news broke about the collaboration between Beyoncé and Tems on her 7th studio album, Renaissance. And to our delight, it was confirmed when the album dropped. Tems, with the help of the legendary Grace Jones, assists Beyoncé on the track, Move. Even though she is not vocally dominant on the song, it is unbelievable to see a relatively new artist accomplish such this early on in their career. If anything, this is just testament to Tems’ inevitable superstardom.
The rising star’s most recent accomplishment was revealed when the teaser trailer for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever dropped. To the surprise of many, Tems delivers a smashing rendition of Bob Marley’s No Woman No Cry. It was revealed afterwards that she is featured on the movie’s soundtrack alongside Amaarae & Santa Fe Klan. On the 28th 0f October, after a 6-year break from music, Rihanna returned with “Lift Me Up” written by Tems for the upcoming Black Panther movie. Her pen and influence can be heard throughout Rihanna’s performance of the song.
If you thought Tems’ triumphant year was over, well, she’s clearly just getting started because she earned three Grammy nominations alongside Future and Drake in the Best Melodic Rap Performance and Best Rap Song categories for the song ‘Wait for U’, and as a featured artiste on Beyonce’s Renaissance album. Whew.
Her song Free Mind also debuted at number 90 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, almost 2 years after its release. This sets her as the first Nigerian female artist to debut on the Billboard Hot 100. I think its safe to say that Tems is really THAT girl. The trajectory of her career has not only exceeded expectations, but she has smashed many ceilings. Currently on tour and yet to release her debut album, we can’t wait to see what the Leading Vibe achieves next!