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“This Is What I’m Actually Gifted At” – Tems on Music, Inspiration & Staying True to Herself with New York Times

Credit: Tems/X

Nigerian superstar Tems grew up listening to Destiny’s Child, Mariah Carey and Celine Dion. Born and raised in Lagos, Tems was often a solitary child, and she found solace in music, via pirated CDs from her brother’s friends. She joined the school choir, wrote her songs and “forced” her friends to sing them, she said. But she never had a specific vision of a career as an artist.

“I used to say I wanted to be an architect, but I only said that because it seems smart,” she said. “When you say ‘architect’ as a child, everyone is like, ‘Hmmm. You have your head around your shoulders.’”

However, a shift occurred during her college years at Monash University College in Johannesburg. While pursuing an economics degree, Tems discovered a new passion: music production. She watched YouTube tutorials, honing her skills and learning to create her own songs. After graduation, a brief stint in digital marketing solidified her desire to pursue music full-time.

“I just thought, ‘This is what I’m actually gifted at,’” she said. “I should do something that comes naturally to me rather than trying to force it.”

In 2018, Tems released her self-produced debut single, “Mr Rebel,” followed by the game-changing “Try Me” in 2019. The latter became a chart-topping sensation, amassing over 18 million YouTube views. This success caught the attention of Wizkid, who invited Tems to collaborate on his album “Made in Lagos.”

Tems’ intuition led her to choose the “Essence” instrumental, and the rest is history. “There are certain beats that make you feel something, and I’m always looking for that feeling,” she said. “When I heard the ‘Essence’ beat, I was immediately like, ‘Yeah, this is the one.’”

Tems’ highly anticipated debut album, “Born In The Wild,” is set for release in June. The album’s first single, “Love Me Jeje,” a modern take on the 1997 Seyi Sodimu classic, has already topped the charts. Recently, she premiered another single from the album, Born In The Wild,” on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.

Speaking with The New York Times, Tems discussed her music journey, finding inspiration from artists like Lauryn Hill and Sade for her debut album, her reaction to when Beyoncé invited her to Los Angeles to contribute to Move” (a track from “Renaissance”) and the importance of staying true to oneself in the face of success.

Read the full article here.
Sourced From Nigerian Music

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