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Tems on NdaniTv session

Temilade Openiyi (born 11 June, 1995), known professionally as Tems, is a Nigerian singer, songwriter, and record producer. 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. That same year, she was featured on Drake's song, "Fountains".


  • It is about showing people they can be who they are truly, without the masks and pretenses. You are a human being, and you can find yourself.
  • Frank Ocean played a huge part; the first song that I’d heard by him was “Swim Good.” I used to also listen to Lil Wayne and Aaliyah. Lauryn Hill’s “I Gotta Find Peace of Mind” was very, very spiritual. I could feel the energy on it. Songs like those made me want to release. The songs that all of these artists sing are releases and the expression of their spirits.
  • I got exposed to a couple of studios, and I met a few producers and started seeing the process of music being made. It made me question, “What is this?” I’d been only exploring piano and guitar at the time, and now you’re telling me I can do more than I’m already doing?
  • I love, love, love guitars and chords. I like things that are based on the instruments I originally learned—violin, flutes. I like things that sound raw and pure. When it comes to drums, I like them very percussion-heavy and in my own way. I enjoy hard kicks and tight snares.
  • I was very naive. I didn’t know that people lie, I didn’t know that people didn’t write their own songs. Music has always been my expression of how I felt. It’s always been my life.
  • Music is my happy place. Music is the only thing that makes me feel truly at home. If I'm sad, it's the only thing I can run to. If someone says to me "here's a billion dollars, just chill" I would still do music. I mean, I'd collect the billion dollars and then do music. That's how bad it is. That's how much I love it.
  • Freestyling, for me, feels like a release. A lot of things I feel, I can't explain, I just sing it. So it was one of those days when it was just inside me. I don't know where it came from. By the time I finished, I knew I had something special.
  • Locally, I'm definitely hoping for Burna Boy, Wizkid, and Niniola. I'm also hoping for my friend, Dami Oniru. I'm hoping we can release some of our collaborations. Internationally, I'd like Stormzy, Ms Banks, and maybe Khalid. This is the longest shot ever but I want to work with Frank Ocean. Koffee as well! She's top on my list.
  • Well, I’ve never felt more connected with my fans like that before. It just felt like we were all in one room and it was a lot of people, but it felt like we might as well have been in a big ass living room, just vibing. I really felt like that experience and the presence was just incredibly intense. I haven’t let go so much as I did before that day in terms of performing.
  • What I hope that God does through me, is for the image of the African woman to be changed to something luxurious, or desired, or sought after. For the demand of the African woman to go up… Let us not be chasing foreign things, let us be something to be chased. And that can’t just happen with me; it’s a together thing. It has to happen with a whole industry of women already doing real and amazing things. That’s the future.
  • I think the perfectionism is definitely a Nigerian thing. For me, it’s definitely Lagos. Because if you check around the world, Nigerians are always the best at whatever they’re doing, whether that’s braids, hair, make-up, doctors… They’ll give you food and it’ll be over good, so that when you’re paying them, you know why.
  • It’s not necessarily people, it’s really just a system. But once you’re an artist you’re not really an artist, you’re an entertainer – your life is entertainment for people. It’s a system of distraction.
  • “I think it’s important to be real with yourself and the people around you.”[1]
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