Tems has been floating high on two back-to-back years of acclaim, nominations, wins, and chart-topping collaborations. But now that she is gearing up to release her first LP, she is managing to keep a level head and not succumb to the pressure to outshine her peers.
“Firstly, I’m not… I am competitive [with] myself, but I’m not competitive with other artists — nobody can compete with me. I mean, I’m an original; I birth children,” said Tems as she coyly talked her talk in a recent interview with Hot 97. “But also, I’m just all about being truthful to myself. My music is for people that relate to it. So my music is coming from me, and my music is my outlet,” she added.
In 2022, Tems was credited as a songwriter on “Lift Me Up,” one of two records Rihanna recorded for the Black Panther: Wakanda Forever soundtrack. The song would garner both ladies their first Oscar nomination for Best Original Score at the 2023 Academy Awards ceremony, as well as Best Original Song at the Golden Globe Awards. In February, she also secured three Grammy nominations and one win for Best Melodic Rap Performance for her work on “Wait for U” by Future, featuring herself and Drake.
“Whether anybody listens to it or not, I have to release it. Whether it does well, whether it doesn’t do well, it’s none of my business, but I need to release it,” said the Nigerian-born singer-songwriter.
“All the accolades that, you know, have happened, I wasn’t ever imagining, ‘Oh my goodness, one day I want to win [an Oscar].’ It wasn’t even on my brain; it wasn’t a dream of mine. My dream was not that. My dream was literally to sit down somewhere and sing to people in a lounge,” explained Tems. The reality she is living now as a celebrated musician “is beyond my dream,” she told Ebro Darden and co-hosts Peter Rosenberg and Laura Stylez. “An Oscar nomination — that’s beyond my dream… I don’t really think about accolades. I just want to get my music out before I die, and that’s what’s important.”
Early this month, she reemerged with new music and visuals with “Me & U.” The artist also marked her foray into directing with the video for her latest single. Details about her forthcoming album are expected to be shared with fans in the near future.