Tems, the world-famous Nigerian singer and songwriter, has received a nod by TIME magazine as a leading voice in the international music industry.
Born Temilade Openiyi, the music star was named as one of the people “who have achieved peak influence in their fields” in the 2023 TIME’s Next 100 list published on Wednesday.
Writing for the magazine, Grammy-winning singer, Mary J. Blige, compared Tems to legendary musician, Nina Simone, because they both “sing with emotion and conviction”.
Blige also expressed hope that Tems will one day become one of the biggest artistes of her time.
“Tems is in a class all by herself because no other artist sounds like her. That voice is so unique and original, so much so that it reminds me of the first time I heard Nina Simone. They both sing with emotion and conviction, making you feel every word they sing.
“When Tems and I finally had a chance to meet last year at the Grammy Awards, we just exploded on each other, giving each other so much love. I know she will make it far because she’s a talented writer, singer, and producer—my only hope for her is that she becomes one of the biggest artists of her time,” Blige wrote.
Tems is not the only Nigerian mentioned on the list, the founder and CEO of health start-up, Cityblock Health, Dr. Toyin Ajayi was also applauded for “addressing social drivers of poor health and creating sustainable change for vulnerable communities.”
Another Nigerian tech founder, Wemimo Abbey made the list alongside co-founder Samir Goel, for their startup, Esusu, which helps immigrants “build credit in America by reporting tenants’ on-time rent payments to credit bureaus.”
Abbey and Goel also expressed their commitment to broadening the company’s financial services in order “to help reduce the racial wealth gap”.