Tems, a singer-songwriter, recently chatted with The Cut about her childhood, her distinct voice, and her personality.
She said that growing up in Lagos, Nigeria, with her brother Tunji and mother, she was a very reclusive youngster who kept to herself. She told the magazine that she didn’t start speaking until she was at least three, but she’d always enjoyed singing.
“I was always in my own little world. I wasn’t very social,” Tems said to the American Women magazine.
She shared that her journey involved undergoing different stages of evolution before blossoming into the confident version of herself that her fans have come to appreciate and love.
Temilade reflected on her younger years, expressing how she used to feel self-conscious about her speaking voice, as it differed from other girls with softer tones, even during singing. The Cut also noted that she faced bullying from other kids, which brought her to tears at times.
An excerpt from the piece reads,
“She didn’t speak much, didn’t have much of a social circle, and her status as an outcast made her a target of ridicule. Sometimes she would cover her head with a blazer, and she kept mostly to herself.”
Even outside of school, she frequently received unsolicited comments and suggestions about the pitch of her voice from strangers. This worsened her low self-esteem, leading her to believe she “sounded like a boy or a frog, or that her voice was otherwise ugly.”
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“All the other girls had these sweet, high voices, and my voice had bass,” Tems said.
In secondary school, however, she found her confidence under the mentorship of her music teacher, evolving into the super-confident woman we see today.
She further said,