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Tems is a Nigerian singer, songwriter, and producer whose thoughtful blend of alternative R&B and Afrobeat earned her international attention at the tail end of the 2010s. After notching the 2019 hit "Try Me," she began to appear on high-profile tracks like WizKid's "Essence" and Drake's "Fountains." Her first two EPs, 2020's For Broken Ears and 2021's If Orange Was a Place, yielded her own hits like "Damages" and "Found," the latter featuring Brent Faiyaz.
Born in the capital city of Lagos to a Nigerian mother and British father, Temilade Openiyi spent part of her childhood in the U.K. before moving back to her home country. She nurtured her musical talent in a local choir, learning to play piano and eventually writing her own songs inspired both by classic Nigerian music and artists like Lauryn Hill and Amy Winehouse. Using the stage name Tems, she released the single "Mr. Rebel" in 2018, followed a year later by "Looku Looku" and "Try Me," the latter of which became a significant hit. 2020 proved to be a banner year for Tems with the release of her debut EP, For Broken Ears, and a number of high-profile collaborations. She teamed up with American singer Khalid on a remix of Davido's track "Know Your Worth" and joined WizKid on his song "Essence." Her own track, "Damages," also became a hit, and she followed up her success with a second EP, If Orange Was a Place, in 2021. That same year, she was featured on Drake's track "Fountains" as well as a new mix of WizKid's "Essence" that also featured Justin Beiber. ~ Timothy Monger