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Grammy-Winning Tems: What We Don’t Know About Her Rise To Global Stardom

Temilade Openiyi, professionally known as Tems, has written her name down in history by being the first female Afrobeats artiste to win a Grammy! She got this prestigious award from being featured on rapper Future’s “Wait for U” song, which won the Best Melodic Rap performance. 

Interestingly, her “feature” was a sample from her song “Higher.” Asides winning the Grammy, “Wait For U” already gone platinum with 400 million plays on Spotify alone.

But how exactly did Tems get to that level? That’s the question on many people’s lips right now. Tems wasn’t always the multi-award-winning artiste we all know her as now. Before Tems, there was Temilade, who loved to write poems about the divorce situation with her parents and how she was feeling. 

“I would just sit and write about how I was feeling and the things I was going through. It could be about anything and it just came out in a poetic way. That is when I found out I had a passion for music and soon those poems became lyrics,” according to an interview she had with Forbes Africa.

Because her passion for music was so great, she took to making her own beats in the absence of music. In no time, this caught the eye of many, many big names in the Nigerian music scene.

Not surprisingly, most people think her international success is tied to her feature on one of Wizkid’s hottest singles “Essence,” which reached the top ten on Billboard Hot 100 after a re-release with Justin Bieber jumping in with a feature. 

Essence was so successful that it got Grammy nominations in 2022. Not even Tems expected the massive recognition and fame the song brought. “I had no idea my life was about to change when I did that song. Every day since then is like a dream and I am super thankful for the opportunity I have for people to hear my work on a global scale.”

Before that, however, Tems had gotten lots of recognition in the Alt​​é music space— a music genre that consists of the fusion of Afrobeats, reggae, dancehall, hip hop and alternative R&B. She’s released two EP’s so far, which are For Broken Ears and If Orange Was A Place. 

Before coming through the limelight through SDC projects, she was an upcoming artiste for quite a while. Her OG fans recognize Looku Looku, Try Me, These Days, and Mr Rebel as the songs that made them fall in love with her, and these songs were released between 2018-2020.

Some of her projects with the SDC included featuring on the band’s single,Tales by Moonlight. She was also heavily involved in the production process behind many of their hits. You can also hear her vocals on Ladipoe’s Talk about Poe EP. 

Because of her awesome discography, she’s scored features on Drake’s song “Fountains,” and a cover of Bob Marley’s “No Woman No Cry”, which is on the EP of the Black Panther: Wakanda Forever movie.

The beautiful singer-songwriter has also worked with international artistes like Brent Faiyas, Khalid, and even Beyoncé!

Asides the Grammy, she’s also gotten two BET awards, two Soul Train Music Awards, and two NAACP Image Awards. She’s also gotten nominations for the Academy Award for Best Original Song and the Golden Globe Award For Best Original Song by co-writing the “Lift Me Up” song with Rihanna.

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