10 things to know know about Tems, the Nigerian singer-songwriter who went viral at the Oscars for her huge gown

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10 things to know know about Tems, the Nigerian singer-songwriter who went viral at the Oscars for her huge gown
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She was born in Nigeria.

She was born in Nigeria.
Tems' rise to stardom has been rapid.Getty/Jemal Countess

Tems, whose real name is Temilade Openiyi, was born in Lagos, Nigeria, in 1995 to a Nigerian mother and a British-Nigerian father.

She moved to the United Kingdom with her parents shortly after being born, but after they divorced when she was 5 years old, she returned to Nigeria with her mother.

She studied economics at college.

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She released her debut project in 2020.

 

Tems released her debut EP "For Broken Ears" in September 2020, with its lead single "Damages" reaching No. 1 on the Nigerian Apple Music chart.

The following month, she received international acclaim for her appearance on Wizkid's "Essence," earning a Grammy nomination for best global music performance. The song was later reworked to also feature Justin Bieber.

She's since worked with superstars such as Drake, Future, and Beyoncé, but has yet to release her debut album.

She's already won a Grammy.

She's already won a Grammy.
Tems at this year's Grammy Awards.Getty/Johnny Nunez

In February 2023, Tems became the first female Nigerian artist to win a Grammy as she won the award for best melodic rap performance alongside Drake and Future for their song "Wait for U."

The 27-year-old star has also scooped prizes at the Soul Train Music Awards, the BET Awards, and the American Music Awards.

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And been nominated for an Oscar.

And been nominated for an Oscar.
Tems.Getty/Mike Coppola

As well as being a singer, Tems is also an accomplished songwriter.

She cowrote Rihanna's hit song "Lift Me Up," which was featured on the soundtrack to 2022's "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever."

The song was nominated for best original song at this year's Oscars.

She lists Alicia Keys, Burna Boy, and Lauryn Hill among her inspirations.

She lists Alicia Keys, Burna Boy, and Lauryn Hill among her inspirations.
Burna Boy.Getty/Amy Sussman

"My mum wasn't a player of music, she didn't listen to music apart from Christian music," Tems told The Fader in 2020.

"Then I grew older and started getting CDs for my Walkman. I had Destiny's Child, Lil Wayne — he's like my idol — and Aaliyah. The first song I learned how to properly sing is Alicia Keys, 'If I Ain't Got You,' at 12. When I had more options of music I started listening to Burna Boy, Asa, Lauryn Hill, Adele."

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She featured her mom on her debut EP.

 

Having been raised mainly by her mother, Tems showed her appreciation by featuring her voice on "Témìládè Interlude" from "For Broken Ears."

On the interlude, Tems' mother can be heard talking about a maternal instinct reassuring her that she was to bear a daughter.

She cooked for Drake when they first met.

 

Tems featured on the song "Fountains" from Drake's 2021 studio album "Certified Lover Boy."

Speaking to Cool FM last year, Tems said the collaboration came about after Drake messaged her on Instagram. When they subsequently met, she cooked the Canadian star and his team dinner.

"I cooked chicken stew and rice for them, the pepper choke them small, but they loved it," she tweeted after being asked by a fan to describe the meeting.

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She's been to prison in Uganda.

She's been to prison in Uganda.
Tems onstage at Powerhouse NYC in 2022.Getty/Roy Rochlin

In December 2020, Tems was arrested alongside fellow Nigerian singer Omah Lay after they performed at a show in Uganda. According to BBC Pidgin, the Ugandan police said the pair had violated COVID-19 lockdown rules.

She and Omah Lay spent two days behind bars in Uganda before being released, after which the charges were dropped and the Ugandan government apologized for their arrests.

She has a presidential stamp of approval.

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