Temilade Opeyemi, better known as Tems, a Grammy-winning singer, has said that she was urged to pursue Afrobeats since her music “doesn’t fit in Nigeria.”
The singer, on the other hand, declared that she was ‘willing to die’ for R&B because that was the only way she thought her message could be heard.
Tems stated this in an Interview Magazine interview with superstar rapper Kendrick Lamar.
“I was prepared to die,” she stated. I had so much faith in myself that I didn’t mind if I never became anything or anyone. I simply wanted to send a message. I wanted to broadcast my frequency. And I told myself, ‘Even if only ten people hear this, it’s alright.’ But along the road, I was listening to a lot of Nigerian music and wasn’t getting a lot of spiritual—I adore Celine Dion, so I love that strong sensation of, I’m ready to leap off a cliff.
“That’s how I want my music to feel all the time, and Afrobeats wasn’t exactly providing that stimulation.” Everyone who gave me advise said, “The only way you can do this is with Afrobeats.” It’s not that your music is horrible; it simply does not suit in Nigeria. Nigerians despise this.”
“And that is not a lie, nor is it a bad thing.” But I knew in my heart that it was fine. I don’t mind if no one likes it; I just want to make music. I want to compose music that makes me want to rip my heart out, and if I can’t, I don’t want anything else. I’d rather do that and go bankrupt than compromise.
Tems also indicated that she was less concerned with money and more concerned with chasing a frequency.
“I wasn’t concerned with the money. It’s not that money is a bad thing. Money is plenty. But I’m still hunting a frequency right now. There are performers I’ve admired my entire life who, when they reach a certain stage, their music loses its frequency, its touch. And I was always curious as to why. Why do I have to lose that connection? I honestly don’t care where I end up. I’ll be fine if I’m under a bridge and have a way to compose music.
“That’s what led me to meet the people who were inspired by that music.” There was no way I could have ended up here. Nobody could have predicted that I’d be sitting here in London, Kendrick Lamar, talking to you.
Tems has been on a roll since her duet with Wizkid’s “Essence” became an international smash in 2021.
Tems’ first appearance on the Billboard Hot 100 was at number nine.