Nigerian Songstress Tems releases new EP, ‘For Damaged Ears’


There’s one thing about Tems that feels regal even via the cellphone. She looks like the form of individual that all the time inexplicably smells good — the sort that walks tall and offers the perfect recommendation, realizing precisely what it’s essential to hear earlier than you’re so positive your self.

Within the areas between her 20 responses, she chooses her phrases fastidiously, taking the time to seek for essentially the most trustworthy solutions she can provide as a substitute of vocalizing the primary thought to pop into her head. There’s a energy to her voice and a brightness to her vitality that makes you’re feeling secure, and when the dialog is up, you’ll end up clinging to her final phrase.

Fortunately, in case you possibly can’t hop on a name with the breakout R&B singer your self, Tems’ genuine nature seeps via the strains of her music; the top end result each honest and uplifting. One thing you’d play when the climate is heat however the sky is getting darkish. In your approach dwelling from the seaside, watching the site visitors lights fly previous the open home windows in a blur of neon.

Her new EP, ‘For Damaged Ears,’ is all this and extra — a tribute to discovering your individual voice, and making your self heard. From assured grooves like “Ice T” to the smoky rhythms of “The Key,” every track feels laid again however nonetheless empowering, furthering the overarching themes of freedom and individuality that permeate Tems’s music. That is what followers have cherished about her since her debut 2018 single “Insurgent Man,” and if it wasn’t obvious sufficient from their assist, Tems’s supporters have even named themselves the “Insurgent Gang” in her honor.

Whereas Tems is a more moderen voice on the scene, she’s not one you hear every single day. In turbulent instances, she is a second of aid — the permission you’ve wanted to sluggish your self approach (approach) down. Learn on to seek out out extra about who Tems is, the track that makes her really feel like she’s dreaming, and the second her sister bought pushed out of a aircraft in Vegas.

How do you cease caring about what different folks suppose?

By discovering out who you actually are and realizing your price.

What do you do once you’re not feeling artistic?

I’m going to a peaceable place, akin to a backyard or the seaside, and I simply chill… I simply chill.

What meals may you eat each single day?

Woah! Hmm… oh man. Properly, there’s nothing I can consider that I wouldn’t get uninterested in, however I’d say jollof rice.

Whenever you had been youthful, what did you need to be once you grew up?

Once I was youthful, I needed to sing. I needed to be a singer.

Which highlighter is your favourite for make-up?

Oh my goodness. Properly, I haven’t discovered the proper highlighter, however… there’s this Maybelline one that’s actually cool, and likewise there’s this Anastasia Beverly Hills one as nicely that’s cool, I simply can’t keep in mind the identify as a result of I don’t have it at present.

What’s been the craziest second of your profession to this point?

The craziest second… woah. I believe acting at a Wizkid live performance. There have been like 1000’s of individuals there… I’m positive there have been like 10,000 folks there. And once I was performing, they had been all singing my track, and there have been lights within the air, and Wizkid was like proper there, ? Everyone was singing to it, and in that second I used to be like, ‘Is that this me?!’ Like they’re singing my track. Like how do they know who I’m? I imply… it was surreal, it was surreal.

How do you dance when there’s nobody watching?

I dance like a loopy particular person, like I’ve a bug on my pores and skin, like there’s a rat in my pants or one thing.

How do you discover new music?

I get suggestions really. I get suggestions from my mates, so if I’m intentionally searching for something, I ask my shut mates, “What are you listening to proper now that’s new?”

When do you’re feeling essentially the most stunning?

I really feel essentially the most stunning once I’m… oh man. Once I’m at dwelling. Once I’m at dwelling I really feel essentially the most stunning.

How do you pray?

I dwell alone, so if I wasn’t dwelling alone, I’d discover a very quiet place, and I’d simply really feel my God. I all the time find yourself crying.

What songs make you’re feeling such as you’re dreaming?

There’s this track by Giveon, it’s referred to as ‘Favourite Mistake.’ That track makes me really feel like I’m dreaming.

In case you may very well be a personality in any film, who would you be?

I’d be… oh what’s her identify? I’d be T’Challa’s sister in Black Panther.

What’s essentially the most adventurous factor you’ve ever finished? 

I took a experience with somebody I didn’t know, and I had a dialog with him for about two hours. I used to be really in Houston, in Texas, so it was very dangerous, however I knew I used to be protected. He was really my Uber driver. We had a dialog for like a lengthy time, and it was good to speak to somebody that I didn’t know, that didn’t know me, that didn’t know something about me, or me being something.

Oh, really! Really, that’s not essentially the most adventurous factor I’ve finished, I simply remembered. I jumped out of a aircraft in Vegas. Yeah, I went skydiving and I did that. Yep, yep, yep, yep. I keep in mind it very clearly, I used to be scared to demise, I couldn’t imagine that I used to be actually falling out of the sky— I virtually had a coronary heart assault. That is unquestionably essentially the most adventurous.

What’s one of the best ways to cope with a breakup?

One of the best ways to cope with a breakup is to dam… not block, however clear out all of the noise. One of the best ways to cope with a breakup, I’d say [is to] begin studying about your self, begin finding out your self, concentrate on your self. If it’s your profession, if it’s your hobbies— begin observing your self and what you want, and put all of your focus into your self.

What’s one thing you probably did despite the fact that it scared you? I imply I really feel just like the skydiving…

“Oh yeah, the skydiving… no, that was the one factor that I imply, mm mm, I don’t suppose I can do this once more. It was like [me and] my cousin, and on the way in which there, everyone was excited, and once we bought on the aircraft, we had been like, ‘Can we flip again?’ and the final was like, ‘No, you possibly can’t, you need to bounce off.’ Yeah, so it was actually scary. My cousin was really pushed out, as a result of she was holding onto the door. Properly, she was holding onto the door, and the [instructor] was together with her, [and] he simply pushed her hand off, and she or he simply fell out of the aircraft. She was like ‘AHHHH!’”

What do you do once you’re feeling lonely?

I FaceTime my mates or my mother, and we simply keep on the cellphone and do what we’re doing.

Do you imagine in horoscopes?

I haven’t actually researched, like gone into horoscopes. I solely know fundamental data, I don’t actually know an excessive amount of about it, however I’m not unopened to the thought or the philosophy or the speculation, as a result of I spotted I met somebody who had the identical birthday as my mother, and I noticed plenty of similarities in them. And I used to be like “Hmm, OK, is that this what they imply?”

Have you learnt your zodiac signal?

“Oh, I’m a Gemini!”

What persona trait do you admire essentially the most in another person?

Honesty, lack of ego or pleasure, and I’d say an open thoughts.

Whenever you get homesick, what do you miss essentially the most?

Once I get homesick, I miss the folks, and I miss the meals. There’s a lot— proper now it’s corn season, so there’s a number of roasted corn. It’s like grilled corn-on-the-cob that you can discover actually on the road anyplace, and there’s additionally this grilled yam that you can additionally get as nicely. After which there’s this factor the place they… it’s like a plantain medley, with plantain and rooster and greens, however it’s in a standard approach that I really like a lot. After which there’s this… suya, it’s referred to as suya, it’s like grilled meat, grilled beef quite, however there’s additionally grilled rooster, there’s additionally grilled different issues, and I don’t eat an excessive amount of beef proper now, however these are the issues I miss.

I additionally simply miss the vibe, the folks, ? Simply going out to the events, nicely not the events, simply the gatherings, I’d say. It’s all the time good simply with the those who — your loved ones.



pictures / Jerusa Nyakundi

story / Chandler Plante


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