Good Notes: The Nigerian singer on her own alt beat

Temilade Openiyi has had a host of recent successes and is one of the few producers in the Nigerian music scene to attract the attention of global stars.

“I would sit and write about how I felt and things I was going through. It could be about anything and it came out poetically. That’s when I discovered that I had a passion for music and soon these poems became lyrics.

In October 2021, Wizkid, topping the Nigerian Afrobeats charts, released Essence, which would go on to become one of Afrobeats biggest songs dominating the global streaming charts as well. One of the magical components of Essence was the sultry vocals of emerging Nigerian artist Temilade Openiyi, known professionally as ‘Tems’.

This Best International Act winner at the 2022 BET Awards hails from the new movement of artistic expression in the Nigerian music scene known as Alté, meaning alternative, which is a fusion of Afrobeats, Dancehall, Reggae , hip hop and alternative R&B. After gaining global recognition with his hit singles Mr Rebel and Try Me, Essence’s success, which was further ignited by Canadian singer Justin Bieber jumping on the remix, made Tems a household name around the world. .

“I had no idea my life was going to change when I made this song. Since then, every day has been like a dream and I’m so grateful for the opportunity I have for people to hear my work. globally,” Tems told FORBES AFRICA.

The 26-year-old honed her musical prowess in Lagos, Nigeria, where she was born. She moved to the UK with her parents as a child, but returned home after their divorce. Without friends and a solitary existence, Tems took to writing poems as an escape.

“I would sit down and write about how I felt and things I was going through. It could be about anything and it came out in a poetic way. That’s when I discovered that I had a passion for music and soon those poems became lyrics,” says Tems.

With no money, Tems broke barriers by producing her own beat, making her one of the few female producers in the Nigerian music scene and soon began to attract the attention of global music stars like Chris Brown, Alicia Keys and Adele.

Her track record has led to other collaborations like the recent hit single Fountains by Drake and Future as well as most recently on the official EP of the new movie Black Panther: Wakanda Forever where she sings the cover of Bob Marley’s No Woman. . , No Cry, which got over 172 million views in just 24 hours.

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