Jaguda Artiste Of The Month: Tems The De Facto Queen Of The Alternative


Our Jaguda Artiste of the Month for September is the sensational alte R&B singer Temilade Openiyi better known as Tems. The indie artist has had an amazing run and deserves the spotlight shining down on her.

Tems is still very young in the Nigerian music industry but it seems she has already carved a niche for herself where she rules effortlessly. The graduate of Economics ditched the corporate & business career path before her to pursue her interest in music. 

She operates on the alte R&B frequency with the alternative genre topping the gauge. 

Tems always knew music was her first love from childhood, with help from her music teacher she began learning how to play the piano. This little effort as a child has played a big role in Tems music today, as she not only writes her songs but also produces them as well.  She has listed the likes of Beyonce, Lil Wayne, Aaliyah, Adele, Asa, etc., as some of her musical influences.

Her debut single titled ‘Mr Rebel’ was released in 2018 also earning her her first Headies awards nominations. The big breakthrough year for Tems was 2019 when she pushed further with new singles ‘Looku Looku’ and ‘Try Me’. 

‘Try Me’ was the tune that got her the buzz she needed and the fans began signing up exponentially. One of the first things that draw you into Tems music is her vocal prowess, what she does with that voice is so therapeutic. She had quickly found favour with top industry colleagues like Wizkid who has a song with her on the ‘Made In Lagos’ album. The alte singer also scored an international collaboration with Khalid on ‘Know Your Worth’  remix, I bet no one saw that coming. 

Fast forward to the present day, Tems has released her debut EP ‘For Broken Ears‘ an impressive body of work. 

The ‘Damages‘ crooner said the following about her recent EP ‘This is for anyone looking for an alternative to the darkness. This is for those who need a break from the toxicity they consume and supply on a daily basis.’  

She has enjoyed much artistic freedom in the creation of ‘For Broken Ears’, all her core skills in singing, songwriting & composition and music production was brought to bear in making this tape. 

These days it’s not difficult to spot a real talent that’s why DSP’s like YouTube Music, Spotify have all backed Tems through their programmes to push breakout music star. 

Earlier in the year, Tems made it to the first batch of YouTube Music Foundry Programme for music acts. The goal of the programme is to support and push independent artistes across over 13 countries. 

In a more recent event, Spotify announced Tems as its latest RADAR African Artist after she released her EP. The goal here is to help emerging artists like her expand their reach existing and new audiences via the platform. 

It is crystal clear that Temilade is destined to achieve great things with her music and her talent is getting across to the exact people who deserve to hear her. 

The alternative genre of music has been bossed for a long time by the men, however, Tems is quickly giving the men a run for their money. As the Jane of all trades, she does well in music production having produced 4 tracks off her latest EP.

Tems is not leaving anything to chance as she is highly involved in every facet of music, everything carries her signature persona from the songwriting, production and even the music videos. So far there is no female in the alternative that has been more influential than Tems in the past 2 years.

The alternative music here in Nigeria lacks a queen and Tems is filling in that role without breaking a sweat.


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