TEMS has become the first Nigerian musician to be nominated for an Oscar award, for her role in creating Rihanna’s song Lift Me Up from the Wakanda Forever soundtrack.
It’s the latest accolade for the singer-songwriter – who has been shortlisted for a Golden Globe and Grammy in recent months.
This time around it’s her writing that’s up for an award – along with Ryan Coogler, Ludwig Göransson and Rihanna.
Lift Me Up, which was recorded in five countries, served as the lead single for the Black Panther: Wakanda Forever soundtrack and was a tribute to Chadwick Boseman, who played King T’Challain the previous instalment of the movie but passed away in 2020 after battling colon cancer.
While discussing the record in the past, Tems had mentioned that she drew inspiration for the song from people who were once in her life, but had passed away.
‘After speaking with Ryan and hearing his direction for the film and the song, I wanted to write something that portrays a warm embrace from all the people that I’ve lost in my life. I tried to imagine what it would feel like if I could sing to them now and express how much I miss them,’ Tems said. ‘Rihanna has been an inspiration to me, so hearing her convey this song is a great honour.’
Born Temilade Openiyi, 27-year-old Tems rose to prominence after she was featured on Nigerian Afrobeats superstar Wizkid‘s 2020 single Essence, which reached the top ten of the Billboard Hot 100 after the release of a remixed version with an additional feature from Justin Bieber, and earned her a Grammy Award nomination. That same year, she was featured on Drake’s song, Fountains.
On September 25 2020, she released her debut extended play, For Broken Ears. Tems released her second extended play, If Orange Was a Place (2021), after being signed to RCA Records. In 2022, Tems’ vocals from her song Higher were sampled by Future on his single, Wait for U, which led to her being credited as a featured artist alongside Drake on the song. It debuted atop the Billboard Hot 100, making her the first African artist to debut at number one and the second Nigerian artist to top the chart. Tems covered Bob Marley‘s No Woman, No Cry for the Black Panther: Wakanda Forever soundtrack, released in July 2022 and in the same month, her song Free Mind from her debut EP debuted on the Hot 100.
Throughout her career, Tems has received many accolades, including two NAACP Image Awards, two BET Awards and two Soul Train Music Awards. Tems became one of five notable Nigerian women who made history as she won a BET award. She also co-wrote the song Lift Me Up by Rihanna, which earned her nominations for the Academy Award for Best Original Song, and the Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song.
Tems had yet to comment publicly on the news, at the time of posting this story, but fans of the star have been congratulating her on social media.