Nigerian singer, songwriter, and producer Tems has made waves across the music industry with her mellow voice and authentic sound, carefully curated over the last decade-and-a-half, during which she’s spent making music entirely on her own terms. Tems’ songs have quickly gained local, and then global, traction thanks to her feature on Wizkid’s hit single “Essence” as well as, more recently, hit track off Drake’s Certified Lover Boy. Now, in a new interview, Tems hints at another collaboration with Drake, to be released next year.
In an interview with The Guardian, Tems discusses growing up in Nigeria, turning to music as therapy, exploring different avenues in her latest work, as well as collaborating with Drake. When detailing her childhood in Nigeria, Tems described it as lonely. “I used to write poems a lot,” she says. “I just started writing songs, at around 11. Some of them were about me not having friends, some of them were about my classmates saying I was weird. Some of it was just really sad. I didn’t have a lot of human interaction, but it helped me heal to be able to sing about what I was feeling.”
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The symbiotic relationship she’s formed with her craft shines through in everything she does. Now, as a full-fledged artist, Tems continues to let truth and vulnerability drive her work. Her debut EP For Broken Ears, released last year, is a swarming documentation of her healing process, where she wafts between gloomy ruminations on fractured relationships.. Her latest EP, If Orange Was A Place, comes from a totally different place– post-healing clarity.
“After I healed, I let everything go and I started to live, I started to enjoy life,” Tems remarks on the new EP. “And this is what that EP is. It’s like a sequel. After healing comes life, comes fun, comes vibes, comes dancing.”
This year, audiences around the world heard Tems croon on “Fountains”, the plodding track off Drake’s Certified Lover Boy that marries the sounds of Afrobeats and R&B. She still finds herself mesmerized by her involvement on Certified Lover Boy, and the enthusiasm she’s received from artists like Drake– figures in music she’s looked up to her entire life. “He was like, ‘Bruuuh, how–why–are you so good?’” she recalls of their first link-up. Moving forward, another collaboration with Drake is imminent, and will likely be featured on Tems’ forthcoming debut album, set to release next year.
With the distinct storytelling that pervades all her work, Tems has triumphed as one of this year’s most promising breakthrough artists, and we’ll be watching closer than ever as her growth in the music industry continues to unfold.
Listen to her hit single “Found” ft. Brent Faiyaz off her latest EP If Orange Was A Place below, and stay tuned with our updates on all her upcoming records and projects.