Nigerian singer Temilade Openiyi popularly known as Tems speaks on how she struggled financially before hitting the limelight.
In a recent interview with with GQ magazine, the 27-year-old superstar revealed that she didn’t attain success overnight as she faced financial difficulties at some point in her life.
“I couldn’t take care of anybody. There were times when I was not just broke – I was broke and hopeless. I used to steal food. I used to go to my aunty’s house just so she could give me food to take home,” Tems said, explaining she was putting pressure on herself to help provide for her family. “I just felt like, What is the point of me existing right now? You have to remember those times. Because that person does not exist anymore.”
In order to escape her former shadow, Tems had to change her state of mind. “The decision I made was to not wallow in sadness,” she said, choosing to stop seeing herself as “this person that can never be anything” and decided to give music a go.
“I didn’t have any self-esteem. I didn’t think I was pretty. I didn’t even think of my voice as anything,” Tems said of her mindset at the time. “I just thought, There are so many people that can sing, I’m not a model, I don’t dance, but whatever chance I have, I’ll take it. Even if I end up singing under a bridge somewhere, I’ll be the best under-the-bridge singer ever.”
In spite of all the challenges, Tems forged ahead, single-handedly redefining the Nigerian music scene one musical note at a time. She has had a huge transition from her idea of being the best “under-the-bridge singer” to actually becoming the first Nigerian recording artiste in history to debut at number one on the Billboard Hot 100.