International superstar, Tems, opened up about her unforeseen trajectory to stardom in a recent cover story with GQ. The 27-year-old singer talked about her humble beginnings, working with Beyoncé and Drake, and shared that the co-signs and accolades don’t really “hype her up” as much as people would expect.
The Tiny Desk star also shared that global icon Rihanna once told her to stop being so humble. “She was like, ‘You need to be that bi**h you know you are,’” she revealed to the outlet.
With famous fans like Barack Obama, Future, Adele, and SZA, to say the least, the Nigerian singer (born Temilade Openiyi) admittedly doesn’t express much excitement, which she attributes to her natural mellow tone of voice. “I just have this chill thing going on,” she said.
But Tems doesn’t want it to be misunderstood that she isn’t grateful or isn’t still pinching herself sometimes. “Of course it means something to me,” she expressed. “If someone told my five-year-old self listening to Destiny’s Child that one day you’re going to have a song with one of them [Beyoncé], I might just be confused.”
Tems’ broke into the American music scene with “Essence,” her 2020 collaboration with Wizkid. The duet with her fellow Afrobeats star reached No. 9 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, earning her a Grammy nomination and a string of celebrity admirers. Within two years and with two EPs under her belt, Tems has been featured on Future’s “Wait For You,” Beyoncé’s Renaissance album, and even the soundtrack for the forthcoming sequel, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.
“Yes, these things add up to my career. But they’re not the core of my story,” she said about the collaborations that have helped her cross over and stretch her name.“ Tems firmly stands on the idea that the common denominator in “all these things that are going off and blowing off” is her.
Read Tems’ full GQ cover story here.