Tems; Top 10 Facts about the First Female Nigerian Afrobeat Singer to Win a Grammy

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The emergence of Tems as one of the winners at the 2023 Grammy Awards has further increased her popularity around the globe. In this piece, we’ll be looking at 10 facts about the first female Nigerian Afrobeat singer to win a Grammy. Sit tight and enjoy the ride.

Following her win in the Best Melodic Rap Performance category for her contribution to Future’s ‘Wait for U.’ Tems made history as the first female Nigerian Afrobeat musician to achieve such a feat. She also became the second female Nigerian musician to win a Grammy after Sade Adu who won in 1986.

Tems is remarkable for her unique vocals; she gained global recognition in 2020 when she was featured on Essence, a song in Wizkid’s Made in Lagos album.

Below are the interesting top 10 facts about the first female Nigerian Afrobeat singer to win a Grammy;

Top 10 Facts about Tems, the First Female Nigerian Afrobeat Singer to Win a Grammy

Her real name is Temilade Openiyi

Tems’ birth name is Temilade Openiyi, born to a British-Nigerian father and a Nigerian mother on the 11th of July, 1995. She lived in England in the early years of her life and following her parent’s divorce, she relocated to Lagos, Nigeria with her mum. Growing up with her mum played a huge role in shaping her views about life. She is someone who loves her mum a lot and even had her mum on Track 4 of her EP ‘For Broken Ears.’

Her mum was a TV model

Another one of the fascinating facts about the first female Nigerian Afrobeat singer to Win a Grammy is her iconic stare. If you have taken time to study her pictures, you will realize she has a fiery-model-like gaze. It is however interesting to discover that she might have probably gotten this from her mother. She once disclosed via one of her Tweets that her mum’s the iconic TV model in Royco’s TV commercial; one of Nigeria’s most popular adverts. Little wonder she is a confident lady herself.

She’s a graduate of Economics

Tems had her secondary education in Lagos Nigeria; she attended Dowen College, Lagos before proceeding to have her degree outside the country. She is a graduate of Economics from the University of Monash, Johannesburg South Africa. After she graduated, she worked as a digital marketer in a private company in Lekki until 2018 when she resigned to focus on music.

Tems came into the limelight in 2018/2019

Her performance on the Essence track of Wizkid’s MIL; an album she was featured on in 2020, left many assuming that was her first public recognition. However, she became famous in 2018 when she released her single ‘Mr. Rebel.’She also made headlines again in 2019 with the release of ‘Try Me.’ These two hit singles earned her multiple award nominations in Nigeria and this further led her into being featured on Wizkid’s Essence. This song became the first Nigerian track on the Billboard Hot 100 songs. Essence went ahead to bag a Grammy nomination in 2022, which further boosted Tems’ global popularity.

She used to dislike her voice

Unlike other Afrobeat female musicians, Tems has a ‘unique’ voice that sounds more masculine than feminine. She once explained that when she practiced singing as a child, she would make her voice sound lighter because she was not comfortable with its ‘masculine tone.’ Eventually, she learned to love her voice and promote its originality. Her sound is also different from the regular afrobeat fans are used to, this made her music more attractive to lovers of original sounds.

Her secondary school music teacher made her love music

While in Dowen College, she got a mentor, Mr. Sosan, her music teacher. Luckily for Tems, Mr. Sosan was able to see what she was not seeing in herself; he made her understand that her voice and talent were unique. He took time to practice music with her by asking her to sing while he plays the piano. The little investment Mr. Sosan made for Tems in secondary school helped in preparing her for her music career path.

Tems produces her songs

Being rejected by record labels because of her vocals pushed her into learning music production. She learned music production from YouTube and started to work on her music herself. This pushed her into producing her first single; Mr. Rebel in 2018. Today, she is one of the few female musicians that doubles as a music producer.

She is the first female African and Nigerian singer to win the BET Awards

In 2021, she emerged as a winner of the Best New International Act category for the BET awards. This earned her the recognition of being the first female African and Nigerian to win the BET. One of the interesting facts about the first female Nigerian Afrobeat Singer to Win a Grammy is that she also bagged another BET win in 2022. She won the BET Award for the Best Hip Hop category. She has joined the likes of other Nigerian top artistes like 2Face Idibia, Davido, Ice Prince, Wizkid, and Burna Boy to win the BET Awards.

She is the Leader of the Rebel Gang

Another one of the 10 facts about the first female Nigerian Afrobeat singer to win a Grammy is the name she calls her fans. They are called the ‘Rebel Gang’ – a name coined after her first single, ‘Mr. Rebel’ went viral.

Tems has worked with A-list celebrities like; Rihanna, Drake, Wizkid, Khalid, and Future

The fact that Tems started music a few years ago did not stop her from achieving her dreams of working with the world’s best musicians. The opportunity to work with top A-list artistes is one of the interesting facts about the first female Nigerian Afrobeat singer to win a Grammy. Some of her international collaborations include;

  • Essence – by Wizkid featuring Tems
  • Essence remix – by Wizkid featuring Tems and Justin Bieber
  • Life Me Up – by Rihanna, co-written by Tems
  • Wait For U – by Future, featuring Tems and Drake
  • Know Your Worth – by Khalid, featuring Davido and Tems
  • The Palmwine Express – by Show Dem Camp featuring Tems


Tems vocals are not the unique thing about her, she is an amazing female musician and producer that shook the world within a few years of starting a career in the music industry. These 10 facts about the first female Nigerian Afrobeat singer to win a Grammy were prepared to help you know more about her. Hopefully, you learned something new about Tems through this.


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