Why I chose not to do Afrobeats – Tems

Ace Nigerian singer, Temilade Openiyi aka Tems, has said she was prepared to face grave consequences when she left the country’s popular genre, Afrobeats to do R&B.

Tems said she when she made the decision to dump Afrobeats, she so much believed in herself that she didn’t bother if she never become “anything or anyone”.

She made the statement in a chat with American rapper, Kendrick Lamar, published in the latest volume of Interview Magazine.

According to the ‘Try’ hit maker, she just wanted to get a message out even if only 10 people listened to the her songs, and that was all that mattered to her.

Tems said; “I was prepared to die. I believed in myself so much that I didn’t really care if I never became anything or anyone. I just wanted to get a message out. I wanted to get my frequency out. And I was like, ‘Even if ten people hear this, it’s fine.’

But also along the way, I used to listen to a lot of Nigerian music and I wasn’t getting a lot of spiritual—I love Celine Dion, so, I love that intense feeling of, I’m about to jump off a cliff. That’s how I want my music to feel all the time, and Afrobeats wasn’t necessarily giving me that type of stimulation.”

The songstress recalled how everyone she asked for advice back then, urged her to do afrobeats, saying; “The only way you can do this is Afrobeats. It’s not that your music is bad, it’s just that it doesn’t fit in Nigeria. Nigerians don’t like this.”

The Grammy-winning singer said she refused to give up because money was not her goal. She added that she is “chasing a frequency.”

Meanwhile in related news…

Singer turned real estate investor, Lanre Dabiri, popularly known as Eldee the Don, has said that watching the likes of Wizkid, Davido and other new generational Afrobeats artiste succeed and be recognised globally is a thing of pride and joy.

The US-based songwriter who stated this while speaking in an interview with Hip TV, noted that it is like a father watching his child become successful.

According to Eldee, he is overwhelmed to witness the waves that the present crop of Nigerian artistes’ are making in other countries.

He also talked about a recent family trip to five countries in Europe and how he observed that Afrobeats music is making waves in non-black settlements.

Eldee said; “You know, the father who has watched a child become very very successful. That’s how it [Afrobeats artists’ growth] feels to me. Nothing gives me more joy.

“Recently, actually last year, we went on a family vacation to Europe. We went to five countries. Every single city that we were in, even in Venice where maybe there were only like, two other black people.

We were the only black family in the whole of Venice. We enter the stores and they are playing Afrobeats. From Rema to Joeboy to Fireboy to Burna Boy to Wizkid to Davido to Tiwa Savage everywhere.

“We were in Paris listening to the radio, to Latin radio and they were playing Afrobeats. Some of this stuff is mind-blowing if you know what was happening in Nigeria in 1995 or 1997 to 1998. It’s mind-blowing because in Nigeria then you couldn’t hear our own music on Nigerian radio.”