From Lagos to Global Stages: Tems Shares Her Creative Journey and Collaborative Process With Kendrick Lamar

Effortless confidence and an unmistakable blend of R&B and Afrobeats define the rising star Temilade Openiyi, known as Tems. Growing up as an introvert in Lagos, Nigeria, Tems discovered her voice as Tems, delivering a musical style that resonates globally.

With collaborations including Drake, Rihanna, and Beyoncé, Tems approaches success seemingly unfazed. As she anticipates her debut album, Tems engaged in a revealing conversation with Kendrick Lamar. Their discussion centered on authenticity and staying true to oneself in the face of challenges.

In a London conversation on June 21, 2023, Tems shared her dedication to her craft, disclosing how she locks herself into her London space daily. The process can feel mentally overwhelming, and she credits her managers and producers for keeping her grounded, preventing a descent into creative madness. Kendrick Lamar empathized, referencing his own creative journey and the need for trusted individuals to offer perspective and prevent artistic burnout.

The dialogue transitioned to the artists’ creative environments. Tems expressed the importance of collaboration, often relying on a select few for guidance and support. Kendrick Lamar revealed that his long-standing partnership with his creative team fosters an environment where inspiration flows freely. Both artists agreed on the contagious energy that emerges when artists unite, communicating through a shared language.

Tems traced her musical origins back to her love for radio, particularly resonating with the emotional depth of Celine Dion’s music. This affinity for melodies eventually led her to crafting her own verses and freestyling. She shared her process of connecting with songs on a frequency level, leading her to create melodies of her own. Kendrick Lamar commended her unique approach, recalling a performance where Tems put her spin on a Lil Wayne song.

The conversation then shifted to Tems’ journey into producing and arranging her music. Limited access to studios during her university days pushed her to collaborate with various producers. However, she recognized a missing frequency in the music and felt compelled to create it herself. This drive to capture her unique frequency led her to produce and arrange her music, reflecting her commitment to her artistic vision.

Staying true to oneself amid external expectations emerged as a central theme. Tems underscored the significance of self-trust and resisting the pressure to conform to perceived norms. She articulated the importance of remaining connected to the initial motivations that sparked her artistic journey. Kendrick Lamar shared her sentiment, emphasizing the authenticity that listeners can discern.

Tems revealed her aspiration to create music that makes her “pull her heart out,” even if it means being broke. Her unyielding commitment to her frequency drives her, even as she faces criticism and skepticism. This authenticity, she explained, connects her with people who resonate with her music on a profound level.

In the closing moments of their conversation, Tems and Kendrick Lamar acknowledged their mutual impact on each other and the artistic community. Lamar emphasized the cyclical nature of inspiration and the significance of artists inspiring one another across the globe. Their dialogue resonates as a testament to the power of authenticity, reminding artists and fans alike that the pursuit of creative integrity transcends boundaries.

As Tems prepares to launch her debut album, her journey serves as a beacon for aspiring artists. It highlights the transformative impact of staying true to one’s unique vision and resonating on a frequency that speaks to the heart of the audience.

Read the full conversation HERE

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