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Tuesday, August 29, 2023

Tems gets interview by Kendrick Lamar as she's on cover of Interview Mag

Tems gets interview by Kendrick Lamar as she's on cover of Interview Magazine. 



Tems has it: effortless confidence and flow, style in abundance. Temilade Openiyi grew up in Lagos, Nigeria, as an introvert, but since finding her voice as Tems, she’s taken her singular blend of R&B and Afrobeats and made them global. Two EPs into her career, Tems has collaborated with the likes of Drake, Rihanna, and Beyoncé, but somehow remains remarkably unphased, as if success was never in doubt. Ahead of her debut album, Tems connected with Kendrick Lamar to discuss staying true to yourself, even when it feels impossible.

TEMS: I was an extreme introvert when I was younger. I didn’t really talk much. My mom’s friends would be like, “Yo, Temi, come take a picture,” and I’d just turn around. I’m not sure when the first time I heard music was, but I found myself loving the radio, and I used to hear Celine Dion. Nigerians love Celine Dion. Her songs are very emotional, jump-off-a-cliff type songs. They entered my soul. I think that’s where my love for music started. 

LAMAR: That’s fire. 

TEMS: And then, when I was nine or ten, I started writing songs, but it wasn’t songs with choruses, it was just verses of things I was feeling. Then I fell into this deep hole of music obsession, and it was the only thing that made me feel alive. I can’t describe the feeling when I first got my first CD. It was a Destiny’s Child CD that was fake, it had 30 songs, and I learned them all. 

TEMS: How you doing? 

KENDRICK LAMAR: I’m good. How you been? 

TEMS: I’ve been cool. 

LAMAR: You been working? 

TEMS: Mm-hmm. I’m in London, locked in every single day.

LAMAR: You driving yourself crazy? 

TEMS: I am, but I have people that are holding me back from turning into a mental patient. 

LAMAR: I know that feeling, trying to weed out all your thoughts and what you like and don’t like, what you keep thinking about over and over again. 

TEMS: One of my managers, he’s the only person I let in the room apart from my producer. Both of them are with me often, but not always. I record myself mostly, but sometimes after doing, like, 800 takes, I call and I’m like, “Yo, I’m going crazy. I need help.” 

LAMAR: I can relate to that, because my boy, Dave [Free]—my partner, actually—he started as one of my managers, but he was a creative also. Along with my producer Sounwave, I kind of lean on him to know if I’m going the right way. How long y’all knew each other?

TEMS: It’s going to be five years.

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