Nigerian singer, songwriter and producer Temilade Openiyi popularly known as Tems had a groundbreaking year in 2022 and 2023 has started out in a similar fashion.
From working with iconic women like Beyoncé, Rihanna and Grace Jones, to being nominated for an Oscar award for her work with director Ryan Coogler and Rihanna on the “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” track “Lift Me Up” and now taking the world by storm and clouds (literally) at the awards show.
The “Mr. Rebel” crooner rocked up to the Oscars ceremony in an audacious gown by Ukrainian brand Lever Couture’s AW22 Leleka Couture collection.
In this interview with Bianca Betancourt of Harper’s Bazaar, Tems talks about her dress to the Oscars, her recent successes, what it means to work with legends like Beyoncé, Rihanna and Grace Jones, being allergic to limitations and lots more.
See excerpts below:
On the dress that’s got everyone talking.
“Two years ago, I would’ve said no to this dress,” Tems laughs. “But it’s my first Oscars — I am going to go all out. I really wanted to make the most of the day. The dress is also my way of celebrating my work and the people around me, celebrating my country, and celebrating the people that are rooting for me. This dress says ‘Yes, yes, I am here!’”
On her recent successes and working with Rihanna and Beyoncé.
“It’s an indication to me that I’m on the right path and that I am doing something that hasn’t been done before. If the biggest women in the world love my work to such an extent that they are working with me, then that must say something,” she explains. “My work is actually reaching places, it’s making some type of impact. And that is insane! I really am just trying to keep my feet on the ground and continue running and doing things that are a hundred percent authentic to me. Evolving, learning, growing. It’s just the beginning for me.”
On fighting for what she believes in.
“All of this, to me, is an open door. Not just for me, but for everybody who is from where I’m from. If I can do it, they can do it,” she continues. “I’m happy that I got to fight, and I want to let people know that they should fight for every single thing that they believe in. It’s not easy, but once you have a plan, once you know who you are and you know where you’re going, every single thing sorts itself out.”
Read the full interview here.