We have witnessed a spike and increase in the number of women who are successfully competing in the Nigerian music industry; they are demonstrating that, in fact, women are more than capable of outperforming males. How, therefore, did we move from having a relatively small number of female musicians—mostly in the rap scene—to having female musicians whose songs are a part of the music industry’s dynamic, defining era?
Women are now constituting up a large portion of the music industry, with names like Tiwa Savage, Ayra Starr, Simi, Yemi Alade, Fave, and even Grammy-winning Tems contributing to this transition. They have transformed the entertainment industry and are challenging the norm in many different ways, including eliminating bias.
Tems recently accomplished for the females in the Nigerian music sector what we can term as a never-done-before feat, winning the Best Melodic Rap Performance prize at the 65th Annual Grammy Awards with Drake and Future on the track, Wait For You. The fifth of February has been noted as a momentous day and a high point that Nigerians won’t soon seem to forget.
Following her appearance on Wizkid’s 2020 summer anthem Essence, the soulful R&B singer Tems has gone on an expedition. Since that moment, Tems has changed from an artist whose music could be appreciated by music-inclined Nigerians to that girl who came as a tsunami, slamming every barrier in her path. Her melodious verse and silky sync with an equally Grammy-winning artist pushed her to rock solid chances.
In addition to being credited as the “first Nigerian female artist to win a Grammy award,” Tems has other notable delineations unique to her brand, including having her vocals heard in the Marvel Studios film Black Panther: Wakanda Forever and being listed as a songwriter on Beyoncé’s 2022 album, Renaissance. It is safe to say that her discography mirrors her musical abilities in terms of exclusivity and style.
We became aware of the oddity in the singer-musical songwriter’s flow and were able to appreciate her musical genius when Tems made her music industry debut with hit songs like Try Me and Mr Rebel in Nigeria as of 2018. Nobody knew that someday, a female artist who makes stealthy efforts and advances fluidly will be considered not just as a role model but also as one who is appreciated on a global scale.
Tems is what may be referred to as a “child of grace,” one who has been given opportunities and has thus far created the greatest lemonade out of whatever lemons came with those opportunities. In the past two years, she has wonderfully strode not just on a national level but also around the globe.
Because the singer is not only dedicated but also blessed with a unique voice that stands out and isn’t as soprano as the vocals of other female musicians would be, it becomes very difficult to criticize her music or the efforts she has put into getting to where she is now. Her music is an ethereal coating of devine melodies and rhythms, and her voice is a cool juice that calms the mind.
It is unsurprising that she was able to float effortlessly on Fountain by Drake and Khalid’s Know Your Worth Remix with Davido given that her smash songs Damages, Found and Higher are irrefutable proof of her powerful vocal abilities. Tems was crafted for this moment, and it is her graceful strides during this time that have us fill with pride at how she is one of those putting Nigeria on the map of the world, showcasing even more of our exceptionalities.
Our female record breaker is obviously built for a greater feat, and one can only imagine how things will be going forward. Tems is unquestionably in the top two, not number two; she is a deserving singer/songwriter who will, in the years to come, wear the crown as the queen of Nigerian music; this isn’t a point of contention, it’s a stated fact that everyone quite can agree on.
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