Tems: Tiny Desk (Home) Concert

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The Tiny Desk is working from home for the foreseeable future. Introducing NPR Music's Tiny Desk (home) concerts, bringing you performances from across the country and the world. It's the same spirit — stripped-down sets, an intimate setting — just a different space.

Bobby Carter | November 4, 2021
From an elegant performance space in Lagos, Nigeria, Temilade Openiyi, aka Tems, adorns hues that recall the title of her latest EP, If Orange Was a Place. As she slips into performance mode, emoting with her eyelids drooped slightly, she begins "Found" in her upper register before switching to that unmistakably rich alto range. That's when the magic starts.

Her music aligns perfectly with the Tiny Desk aesthetic: Everything is stripped away to reveal the feels. Over the past couple of years, the Nigerian singer's star has been on a steady ascent, beginning with the release of her first couple of singles, "Try Me" and "Mr. Rebel." "Damages" (performed here) was huge in Nigeria and helped put her name on the U.S. map. That slow and steady approach led to features on two huge international hits: Drake's "Fountains," one of the standouts on Certified Lover Boy, and "Essence" by Wizkid featuring ahem ... starring Tems. Originally released last year, the latter was arguably the song of this summer (ask anyone who braved the nightclubs in 2021). Those two jams served as a gateway to what's becoming a substantial discography, and her Tiny Desk setlist tacitly implies, "I know you love those songs and you'll love these, too." She's right.

"Free Mind"
"Looku Looku"

Tems: vocals
Nsikak David: guitar
Afolabi Adekomaiya: drums
Obinna Enwere: keys
Ayo Dele Owa: bass

Video: Ebuka Nwobu, ua.x
Audio: Akano (Spax) Samuel
Production Manager: Chisom Nwobu
Art Director: Desola Falomo
Associate Producers: Kenechukwu Nwobu, Adedamola Adetunji
Gaffer: Ekene Ucheonwu
Camera Operators: Gbolahan Inaolaji Quam, Folarin Oludare
Location Manager: Debo Johnson
Camera Assistants: Tobi Oloko
Editor: uaxstudio
Colorist: Eduvie 'Stedi' Emojevwe
Production Company: uaxstudio + Ladder, Lex & Booker

Producer: Bobby Carter
Video Producer: Maia Stern
Audio Mastering: Josh Rogosin
Tiny Production Team: Bob Boilen, Kara Frame, Sofie Hernandez-Simeonidis
Executive Producer: Keith Jenkins
Senior VP, Programming: Anya Grundmann

#nprmusic #tinydesk #tems
Live Concert
NPR, NPR Music, National Public Radio

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