In a conversation with Kendrick Lamar for Interview magazine, Tems opens up about her decision to establish herself as an R&B artist and stray from the Afrobeats genre popular in her native Nigeria.
“Everyone I asked for advice was like, ‘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,’” Tems says. “And that’s not a lie, and it’s not a bad thing.”
“I’m okay with no one liking it, I just want to make this music,” she continues. “I want to make music that makes me pull my heart out, and if I can’t do that, I don’t want anything. I would rather do that and be broke than compromise.”
She also says she was first inspired to make music by an artist who is neither R&B nor Afrobeats.
“I’m not sure when the first time I heard music was, but I found myself loving the radio, and I used to hear Celine Dion,” she says. “Nigerians love Celine Dion. Her songs are very emotional, jump-off-a-cliff type songs. They entered my soul. I think that’s where my love for music started.”
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