Tems, an international superstar, opened up about her unexpected rise to stardom in a recent GQ cover story. The 27-year-old singer discussed her humble beginnings, working with Beyoncé and Drake, and how the co-signs and accolades don't "hype her up" as much as people might think.
The Tiny Desk host also revealed that global icon Rihanna once advised her to stop being so modest. "She was like, 'You need to be that bi**h you know you are,'" she told the publication.
With celebrity fans such as Barack Obama, Future, Adele, and SZA, to name a few, the Nigerian singer (born Temilade Openiyi) admits she doesn't show much excitement, which she attributes to her natural mellow tone of voice. "I just have this chill vibe," she explained.
But Tems doesn't want it to be misconstrued that she isn't grateful or that she doesn't still pinch herself from time to time. "Of course it has meaning for me," she said. "If you told my five-year-old self, who was listening to Destiny's Child at the time, that one day you're going to have a song with one of them [Beyoncé], I might have been confused."
Tems made her American music debut with "Essence," her collaboration with Wizkid in 2020. The duet with another Afrobeats artist peaked at No. 9 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, earning her a Grammy nomination and a slew of celebrity fans. Tems has been featured on Future's "Wait For You," Beyoncé's Renaissance album, and even the soundtrack for the upcoming sequel, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, in just two years and with two EPs under her belt.
"Yes, all of these things contribute to my career. "But they're not the heart of my story," she says of the collaborations that have helped her break through and expand her brand. “ Tems is adamant that she is the common denominator in "all these things that are going off and blowing off."
Tems' full GQ cover story can be found here.