Tems: Your uniqueness is your selling point – Guardian Nigeria

There is a place for everyone in life. There is a place for your talents, gifts and unique abilities. When you live an authentic life with your talents and gifts, the whole world will one day come looking for you.
William Arruda said: “What makes you unique makes you successful”. The key to success is discovering your uniqueness and significance. Life is a journey of self-discovery, but it is a pity how most people live all their lives trying to win people’s acceptance.
There is only one pursuit in life that is destined to fail. That is when we strive hard to be like others. When you are like everyone else, your existence does not matter, whether you are present or absent, no one bothers, because there are so many others just like you to cover up for you. There is always a temptation to be someone else, but great people resist it. The late Bruce Lee once said, “Always be yourself, express yourself, have faith in yourself, do not go out and look for a successful personality and duplicate it.”
Temilade Openiyi, popularly known as Tems has captured the heart of many music lovers across the world through her unique and sensational voice coupled with the inspiring lyrics of her songs. She was born on July 11, 1995, in Lagos, into a family of a Nigerian mother and British father. She attended Dowen College for her secondary school education, after which she travelled to South Africa to have a degree in Economics.
Tems grew up in a simple family. She discovered her music talent at a very early age, after joining her church’s choir. She took the basic steps in becoming a wonderful musician during her childhood days. She recorded songs with her school choir and practised with her brother’s guitar. When in high school, Tems’ music teacher was able to spot raw talent in her and started training her voice and having various music sessions with her. Together with her brother who plays the guitar, Tems will freestyle with various songs. According to a documentary with MU Narratives, she recounted how her music teacher encouraged her to sing with her real voice when she doubted her capability.
Tems was raised in a Christian family. As a child, she came in contact with lots of gospel songs, thanks to her mother. However, when she became older, she sought to discover other music genres. And this led her to songs by superstars such as Aaliyah, Lil Wayne, Beyoncé and Destiny Child.
She did this to discover her own style. Thus, she began to create music in her own way, and this led to the birth of a style that is a fusion of Alté, Afrobeats and R&B. While in the university, she had picked up sound production and began to master the skill. The goal behind learning the skill was to produce beats for her own songs.
Tems, became a sensation in the industry after the release of her debut single, Mr Rebel, whose production was handled by herself. However, she gained more recognition in the Nigerian music space after she dropped a follow-up single, Try Me. Releasing her debut EP, For Broken Ears, in 2020, Tems became a favourite of millions of Afrobeats fans in the country. The singer has earned two Billboard Hot 100 entries.
The first came from her collaboration with superstar, Wizkid on the single, Essence. While the latter resulted from being featured on Fountains, one of the singles off Drake‘s album, Certified Lover Boy.
The singer Tems won the Most Alternative Song category for Damages at Net Honour Awards in 2021. At the 2021 African American Entertainment Awards, she won the Best Female Artist category and also went home with Best Collaboration, Best Video, and Song Of The Year for her work with Essence.
There is only one thing that God would never call you to be in life, and that is being someone else. You aren’t called to be anyone else; you are called to be ‘YOU.’ Too many people overvalue what they are not and undervalue what they are. There is only one you for all time. Fearlessly be yourself. Ingrid Bergman once said, “Be yourself. The world worships an original”. The greatest journey in the pursuit of excellence is to be distinct because you would never influence the world by trying to be like it. It is a basic truth that people who are different are usually the ones who end up making a difference in life. What stands you out is your uniqueness.
Ralph Waldo Emerson: “To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” It is never too late to become what you should have been. By being yourself, you put something wonderful in the world that was not there before. You will never influence the world by trying to be who people want you to be. Never be bullied out of what God has designed you to be. You’ve got to discover the one thing you were created to be and be willing to pay the price to be it.
I have often told people that the most effortless person you can ever be in life is ‘you’. Your uniqueness is your selling point and it must never be negotiated. Until you live a life that is truly yours, you have not lived. The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are. Many people live a larger part of their life wanting to be someone else. For all the time you work hard to being someone else, they are wasted years. Be yourself, everyone else is already taken.
Tems have been able to carve a niche for herself through her unique voice and singing style. What has God given you that others are despising? Your uniqueness is your winning joker in life. Stick to your uniqueness and the whole world will come looking for you. Be distinct or you will be extinct!
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