The story behind Tems international recognition

She sang ‘Try Me’ in 2019 and never looked back again. Yep, that’s right; I’m talking about none other but the outstanding .

How did this unique Nigerian singer start her music career and how on earth did Tems get famous? We answer all that and more in this documented rise to fame specifically focused on the popular singer Tems.

Who is Tems?

With her distinctly sonorous voice, it’s hard to not know who Tems is. That’s because her voice easily stands out from the crowd of musicians we have in the Nigerian music scene. Temilade Openiyi is professionally recognized as Tems which seems to have been derived from her original name. She wears many hats as a singer, producer, as well as a songwriter. She was born on 11th June 1995 which means that the star is 27 years old. Tems was born in Lagos. Interestingly, her father is British-Nigerian while her mother is a Nigerian. Unfortunately, they split up when she was 5 years old.

Her rise to fame

Getting internationally recognized did not come overnight for Tems. She had small beginnings as an unknown musician in Nigeria. Every international recognition that she has now, She had to work hard for it.

Her musical journey began in her choir days. Way back in 2009 when Tems was only 14 years old, she joined the choir. Like many other established singers, joining the choir gave her the experience and the leverage she needed to take up singing as a full-time career.

The major turning point in Tems career was through her breakthrough hit song titled ‘Try Me’. After she released the song in 2019, a lot of Nigerians were bobbing their head to the rhythm and slurring the lyrics ‘So why you wanna try me (Yeah, try me), You’re out to destroy me, (destroy me), You try to challenge me, (Challenge me), You try to distract me, (distract me)’. People instantly fell in love with the singer and then she began to mass a considerable number of fans in Nigeria and beyond.

International recognition

After blowing up a few years ago through the ‘Try Me’ track, Tems’ ‘Essence’ was the song that eventually catapulted her to global fame. Ever since then, Tems has been getting increased global recognition which includes foreign opportunities and awards. She has now worked on some very big projects since her career as a singer.

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever Prologue 2022

This year (2022), with help from the crew, she worked on ‘No woman, No cry’; a feature song for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever Prologue 2022 and it goes without saying that the project is a huge one by all standards. The celebrated film is a sequel to the previous one Black Panther which is owned by Marvel studios. I must say that she did a fantastic job on this cover of Bob Marley’s song. Her peculiar rendition of the song is a huge memory refresher and it reminds me of our irreplaceably rich African roots.

Pepsi X Tems Collaboration

Tems is currently in an international partnership with Pepsi. In January 2022, she did a project that was called ‘A place called Orange with Tems’. The Pepsi X Livespot show was a great one. The fans in attendance witnessed a live rendition of Tems churning out hits back to back.

Jimmy Kimmel Show

Tems was featured in the popular and reputable Jimmy Kimmel show. She performed beautifully on the same stage that has graced plenty of foreign celebrities who have also been invited to the show. The combination of the expert live band and Tems gorgeous voice was a complete success from the beginning to the end. I won’t say much about that display of talent and skill, but I’ll say that Tems sure made us proud with her stellar performance.

International awards

Tems has won her fair share of awards. In terms of international ones, the BET awards stand out. She recently won the 2022 BET awards for Best International Act. Tems battled it out with her counterparts from other countries like Brazil, France, and South Africa to clinch the award. That’s not even the best part, she didn’t just win the BET award, but she also broke a record while doing so. By winning the award, the melodious singer made history by becoming the first female Nigerian Afrobeats artiste to do so.

On the first of July 2022, Tems won the Raymond Well International Award for the role she has played in making exceptional music. The award is a very prestigious one and it is globally recognized.

Even the prestigious Grammy award is not entirely out of Tems’ reach as she got a Grammy nomination for Best Global Music Performance. Even though the star did not win the award, we foresee that with her current pace, she will be bagging a Grammy very soon.

International collaborations

Tems is no stranger when it comes to working with some famous and reputable foreign artists. We all saw how she, Justin Bieber, and Wizkid teamed up to produce ‘Essence’. The song blew up and even ended up on former President Barrack Obama’s summer playlist. She worked with Future and Drake to create ‘Wait for U’, the seventh track on Future’s album. Another top song with Drake was ‘Fountain’ and as usual the artist brought her A-game.


Tems’ swift rise to prominence has been interesting to watch. With all of her back-to-back hits, she has proved to all of us that she is not just a flash-in-the-pan singer who will drop one banger and then go into obscurity, but that she is a notable entertainer that we should look out for. In recent times the beautiful celebrity has been getting an increased level of attention on the international scene and we are happy to see her winning. With the level of her dedication and hard work, we know in our hearts that this young and talented singer will go places throughout her career. We’ll be here watching her reach the peak with all pleasure.

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