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Tems Biography: Education, Family, Controversy, Awards, and Net Worth

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - JUNE 12: (EDITORIAL USE ONLY) Tems performs on day 2 of Parklife Festival at Heaton Park on June 12, 2022 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Burak Cingi/Redferns)

Temilade Openiyi, better known as Tems, is a rising Nigerian R&B singer, record producer, and songwriter. Her distinct and sensational voice, combined with the inspirational lyrics of her songs, has won the hearts of many Nigerians.

Early Life and Education

Tems was born on June 11, 1995, to a Nigerian mother and a British-Nigerian father. She spent her childhood in the United Kingdom but was forced to return to Nigeria at the age of five when her parents decided to divorce. Tems returned to Nigeria and lived with her mother and brother in Ajah, Lagos State.

She received her secondary school education at Dowen College, where she was discovered by her music tutor and had the opportunity to learn the piano and guitar, after which she traveled to the University of Johannesburg, South Africa, to pursue a degree in Economics.

She grew up listening to gospel music, thanks to her mother. However, as she grew older, she became interested in other music genres, which led her to listen to songs by superstars such as Aaliyah, Lil Wayne, Beyoncé, and Destiny’s Child.


Tems had already decided that she wanted to be a professional musician by the time she was fifteen. She took the first step toward realizing her dream by ceasing to listen to other artists. She did this to figure out her own personal style. As a result, she began to create music in her own unique style, resulting in the birth of a style that is a fusion of Alté, Afrobeats, and R&B.

She had taken up sound production at university and had begun to master the skill. The goal of learning the skill was to be able to create beats for her own songs. Tems officially launched her music career in 2018 with her debut song, Rebel, which she produced herself. Rebel introduced her to the Nigerian music scene, and many people recognized her as a talented Alté artist.

However, it was her follow-up single, Try Me, that did the trick and immediately won her thousands of fans. The song was a huge hit on the radio, receiving constant airplay across the country. Her radio success resulted in more streams on digital music platforms. Try Me was released in August of this year. Tems, who was already known in the industry for having a distinct voice, was invited to collaborate with American singer Khalid. She accepted the invitation, which resulted in the creation of the Know Your Worth remix. Davido, another Nigerian singer, also appeared on the remix.

Tems completed her debut project and released it on September 25th, 2020, as requested by her fans. Tems produced the EP For Broken Ears, which was a commercial success in Nigeria, North America, and Europe. Damages, the project’s lead single, was a fan favorite and surpassed her success with Try Me. The following year, she collaborated with Wizkid on Essence’s song, which became the most successful single from his Made In Lagos album. Tems has become a global music star thanks to Essence.


She received a number one spot on the BBC 1Xtra Airplay Chart, a Billboard Hot 100, a Soul Train Music Award, two NAACP Image Awards, and a Grammy Award nomination for Best Global Music Performance for her role in creating the hit single. Her success with Essence paved the way for her to work with Canadian-American rapper and singer Drake. Fountain, one of Drake’s Certified Lover Boy album tracks, featured her. Fountain assisted Tems in achieving her second Billboard Hot 100 hit.

Tems released her sophomore EP, If Orange Was A Place, almost a year after her debut project. Guilty Beatz produced the album, which included the commercially successful single Crazy Tings, and it was released by RCA Records. Earlier that year, she had signed a recording contract with the publishing company.

Personal Life

Tems is widely regarded as one of Nigeria’s top five female superstars, ranking alongside Tiwa Savage, Yemi Alade, and Simi.

The singer’s parents divorced when she was five years old, and she remains close to her mother and brother. When she is not in the studio creating music or performing at gigs, she enjoys spending time alone in her apartment or visiting her mother.

Tems began her career in the corporate sector as a Digital Marketer before leaving to pursue a full-time career in music. The singer cites Lauryn Hill, Burna Boy, Asa, and Adele as sources of inspiration in the industry who motivate her to do more as an artist.

She was rumored to be in a relationship with Wizkid, but Tems is currently single, and details of her previous relationships are unknown to the public due to her decision to keep them private.


Tems and fellow Nigerian singer Omah Lay were arrested by Ugandan authorities in December 2020 for performing live in the country at a show that violated the government’s Covid-19 prevention regulations. The two were detained in police custody for two days before being released thanks to the intervention of high-ranking individuals and the Nigerian embassy in Uganda.


  • Free Mind
  • Damages
  • Try Me
  • Essence (featured byWizkid)
  • Illumination (Album)
  • The Key
  • Fountains (featured byDrake)
  • Crazy Tings
  • If Orange Was A Place
  • For The Broken Ears
  • Mr. Rebel

Awards and Nominations

Tems won the Most Alternative Song category at the Net Honour Awards in 2021 for Damages. She won Best Female Artist at the 2021 African American Entertainment Awards, as well as Best Collaboration, Best Video, and Song Of The Year for her work with Essence.

She was also nominated for BET Awards, MTV Europe Music Awards, Soul Train Music Awards, and Grammy Awards, among others.

Net Worth

The singer and songwriter earn a lot from her music career via brand partnerships, ambassadorial deals, gig performance, and discographies royalties. Tems is estimated to have a net worth of US$1 million.


Written by PH

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