From writing songs on the piano and guitar at age six to learning how to produce on her own, Nigerian R&B singer-songwriter Tems always seemed destined for a career in music—even when life got in the way. As a child growing up in Nigeria, she kept her musical inclinations largely to herself.
“I was extremely introverted,” she tells Apple Music. “Not many people knew that I could sing.” While she worked with a music teacher in her teens to build her confidence, her path diverted towards a more traditional career which saw her bend to family pressures to earn two degrees and land a job in marketing.
After quitting that job and diving headfirst into music, things started to come together for her, as evident in her breakout singles, “Mr Rebel” and “Try Me,” and her 2020 EP ‘For Broken Ears.’ Tems’ distinctive voice translates her story into compelling, confident songs, even if she didn’t always feel that confidence herself. Watch the interview and the Up Next Film, and listen to Tems’ EPs and singles, along with selections from the rest of the artists in the Up Next series: