Tems says debut album “is 1,000% coming out this year”


When Tems makes music, she doesn’t “really think about where it’s going to end up.”

“I just leave it all in the studio,” she says in a feature honoring her as Billboard‘s 2024 Women In Music Breakthrough artist.

It’s the approach she’s taking on her debut album, which she says “is 1,000% coming out this year.” She’s
“not thinking too much about outcomes.”

Before her voice and songwriting made their way into popular music, including Wizkid‘s “Essence” and Rihanna‘s “Lift Me Up,” Tems worked a digital marketing job, noting her decision to pursue music full time “wasn’t an overnight thing.”

After coming to the realization in 2018 that she “was selling myself short by not pursuing my passion and worrying about what people think,” she quit her job and released her debut single, “Mr. Rebel,” which she wrote, produced and recorded on her own. She has since gone on to pave the way for Nigerian artists who love R&B and are not particularly interested in making Afrobeats.

“Is it possible to make this type of music even though I’m Nigerian? Is there a limit to what I can make? I wanted to find out,” Tems said of creating songs like those from Céline Dion, Destiny’s Child and Mariah Carey that get people in their feelings.

Though she’s “not sure” if she’d “ever really be aware of whatever impact my story has,” Tems said, “It feels inspiring to know that I’ve inspired others because I’m inspired by other people as well. It just encourages me to keep going.”

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