Tems. The First Female Nigerian Based Musician To Win a Grammy.

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By Selija Achaya

Temilade Openiyi, popularly known as Tems, won her first-ever Grammy Award at the 2023 Grammy Awards gala ceremony.

Nigeria’s Tems, real name, Temilade Openiyi, won the ‘Best Melodic Rap Performance’ category on Sunday night for her role in ‘Wait for U’, the 2022 hit song by Future, featuring Drake

The “Free Minds” hit musician who shot into the limelight after a hit collaboration song with Wizkid, titled Essence, gave her the opportunity to collaborate on hit songs with the finest in the music industry in America.

Tems’ first Grammy came on Sunday night at the cryto.com Arena in Los Angeles for her featured song in the 2022 hit song by Future, “Wait for U,” which also included Drake. By virtue of this award, Tems becomes the first Nigerian and African to win a Grammy for “Best Melodic Rap Performance.”

But who is Tems?

Early life

Temilade Openiyi who is fondly known by her fans as Tems was born on 11th June 1995 in Lagos Nigeria.

She was born to a Nigerian mother and a British Nigerian father and she relocated to the UK shortly after her birth but returned to Nigeria 5 years after her parents divorced. Tems has resided in many states in Nigeria like Ilupeju, Lekki, and Ajah.


Tems attended Dowen college for her secondary education .she later joined Monash South Africa for her tertiary education. It’s the school that gave her a push to pursue music. Her music teacher noticed her and pushed her to play the piano. She also practiced singing with her brother and was mostly interested in his guitar accompaniment.

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Who inspired Tems to follow her musical passion?

Tems has always said Beyoncé and Destiny’s Child were her inspiration. She felt the push and a powerful urge to sing. At age 11, she began to prepare her voice to truly get into music.

Asa, Amy Winehouse, Frank Ocean, Adele, and Rihanna, also influenced her, especially in how to play the piano. As she saw the genuine enthusiastic substance in their music.

Music career


Tems officially started pursuing music in 2018 after quitting her job. She involved herself in learning music production through youtube. And on 18th July her skills paid off as she released her own debut single dubbed Mr. Rebel a song she produced by herself.


On August 2019 Tems released a new single Try me.


Her musical breakthrough came in 2020. She was featured alongside One of Nigeria’s top musical acts Davido where they worked on a reworked version of American singer and Songwriter Khalid and English electronic music duo Disclosures’ single Know your worth.

Tems released her debut extended play dubbed For Broken Ears. It’s a song she admitted she produced by herself primarily. She did it on 25 September 2020.

On 30 October 2020, Tems was featured with Nigerian music popstar Wizkid on the singer’s single Essence. Her performance of the song earned her a number-one spot on the BBC 1Xtra Airplay chart.


It is also a song that earned her her first career entry on Billboard Hot 100 and she peaked at number 9. This is after a rework and a feature with Canadian top musician Justin Bieber.

On 3 September 2021, Tems was featured on Canadian top rapper and singer Drake’s song the Fountains from the latter’s sixth Studio album Certified lover boy which debuted at number 26 on the Hot 100.

On September 15 2021 Tems released her second extended play If orange was a place. This she released when she was signed to RCA records. The song was produced by GuiltyBeatz and five days later she released her song Crazy Tings which peaked at number 3 on UK Afrobeats Singles Chart.


The year 2022 began on a high for Tems. Apple Music 1 Launched a leading vibe radio show with Tems on March 31, 2022. The show was a success as it featured Muyiwa Awoniyi and Tunji Balogun in its first-ever episode.

Tems teamed up with Drake and was featured on American rapper Future’s single Wait For U. The song debuted at the top Hot 100 making Tems the First African Female artist to top the chat and more so to debut on the chart.

Tems has also done a cover for Bob Marleys No Woman, No cry for the Marvels movie Black Panther. Wakanda Forever Soundtrack.

With her song, Free Mind Tems also featured at number 4 on the Hot 100.

Since childhood, Tems was always inspired by Beyonce and in July 2022 was a guest artist on Beyonce’s Album Renaissance collaborating on the song Move with Grace jones which earned her a fifth entry on the Hot 100.

In 2022 Tems co-wrote Rihanna’s song Lift me up for the Black Panther. Wakanda forever soundtrack

It is a song that earned Tems, Ludwig GöranssonRihanna, and Ryan Coogler a nomination at the 2023 Golden Globe Awards for “Best Original Song — Motion Picture” for “Lift Me Up” from the film Black Panther . Wakanda forever.


Tems won a Soul Train Music Awards in 2022.

Has won two NAACP Image Awards IN January 2023.

She has received a Grammy Award nomination for Best Global Music Performance.

Tems has also been included in The Future Awards Africa.Class of 2020.

Legal issues

The Nigerian star had a run-in with the law when she was hosting a concert with fellow Nigerian artist Oma lay in Uganda. The Ugandan authorities arrested them because they broke the Covid 19 protocols. They were detained and released a few days later and the Ugandan government apologized for the arrest.

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