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Take a Look Back at Tems’ Journey to Becoming an Undeniable Force

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Photo Credit: @temsbaby/Instagram

“I’m standing next to a woman that every single musician around the world wants in the studio”; those were the words of Nomzamo Mbatha as she introduced Tems to the crowd at Black Star Square, Ghana, during Global Citizen Festival, 2022. Those words couldn’t be truer.

The past year has seen Tems on a roll, featuring in tracks with some of the biggest names in the music industry, racking up nominations for global awards including the Grammys, and getting accolades at a rapid pace. Tems has progressed from a Nigerian Alté singer to a worldwide celebrity.

She sang in a choir as a teen and studied Economics at then-Monash South Africa. She made beats in her spare time by watching YouTube videos. When she returned to Lagos after graduation, she landed a job as a digital marketer. In 2018, she quit that job to pursue music full-time. In an interview with GQ, she said her family was shocked. That same year, she released “Mr Rebel” earning her two nominations at The Headies.

Taking the bold step to pursue her dreams was obviously worthwhile.

With two EPs under her credit, she has broken records and opened doors for women in Afrobeats and Alté. With her album “If Orange Was a Place” and her work with Wizkid, Future, Beyoncé, and Drake, Tems is the first woman to be nominated for Favorite Afrobeats Song at the AMAs. She also won an International Award at the O2 Silver Clef Awards, Best New Artist at the BET Awards, and many others.

Tems has garnered several award nominations throughout her career, and she has won two NAACP Image Awards, two BET Awards, and a Soul Train Music Award + Nomination.

Her Grammy nomination came from the remixed version of “Essence,” which included Justin Bieber. Thanks to the success of Future’s “Wait for U,” Tems became the first female artist from Africa to top the Billboard Hot 100.

The list goes on and on, but you can check them out here.

As the singer’s career continues to soar, these are some of the events that have helped her become an unstoppable force throughout the years.

Mr Rebel, Looku Looku & Try Me

Tems first rose to popularity when her single, “Mr. Rebel,” became a hit in 2018. She continued her success with the singles “Looku Looku” and “Try Me,” resulting in devoted fans all around the world who now identify as ‘the rebel gang.’

Featuring on Khaldi x Disclosure’s “Know Your Worth” with Davido

In 2020, she joined Nigerian superstar Davido on the Afrobeats remix of Khalid x Disclosure’s “Know Your Worth“.

That same year, she released her debut EP, “For Broken Ears” which had “Damages,” “Higher” and “Free Mind” in it.

Collaboration with Wizkid on “Essence”

Her collaboration with Wizkid was monumental. It garnered her a slot on the Billboard Hot 100, a Grammy nomination, and a slew of celebrity fans. Not only that, but “Essence” made it onto Barack Obama‘s list of his favourite music of 2020. We knew for sure that Tems was far from taking her foot off the pedal. She got featured on Future‘s hit single “Wait For U” which features Drake, and Drake’s “Fountain” off the album “Certified Lover Boy.”

Then came her second EP “If Orange Was A Place”

Tems’ second extended play, If Orange Was a Place also achieved chart success. The project, which was published in September 2021, has a single guest appearance from American singer Brent Faiyaz. GuiltyBeatz was mostly responsible for its production, with assistance from Jonah Christian.

According to a Pitchfork review, “‘If Orange Was a Place,’ takes on a different texture and mood. If there’s any element still resonant, it’s Tems’ unrestricted expression.”

Collaboration on “Wait For U,” “Fountains” and “Move”

The release of the “Renaissance” tracklist, which included Tems’ name as a writer on “Move“, was a monumental moment for the music star. Tems is, without a doubt, one of the most sought-after collaborators in the industry right now. Prior to this, Future collaborated with Tems on “Wait For U,” which samples “Higher” from her first extended play, “For Broken Ears.” Tems has worked on several music collaborations, but one that stands out is her appearance on Drake’s “Fountains.”

Sheesh! Her voice is heavenly

Tems on Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

To put it bluntly, what kind of music do you listen to if you haven’t heard of Tems by now? On July 24, 2022, the teaser for “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” was released, featuring Tems performing a version of Bob Marley’s “No Woman, No Cry.” She isn’t nicknamed ‘Big Tems’ for nothing.

EXTRA: Tems the Fashion Killa

Already a budding icon, Tems officially entered the world of high fashion. With her signature braided hair-do, winged and graphic eyeliners, nude and dark lined lips, plus chic-fitted cropped tops and elegant loose bottoms for occasions like Reebok‘s #TheInvitationSurroundsYou campaign, FRÄULEIN magazine, and Genevieve Magazineshe never ceases to steal the moment.

Here’s what BellaNaija Style had to say about her style:

She has become a beauty template for her Gen-Z and millennial fan base to draw inspiration from to give that ‘African Baddie’ vibes sprinkled with the ’90s grunge’ and ‘Y2K Nollywood Fashion‘.

See some of her most tasteful beauty moments below:


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