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Tems: Tiny Desk (Home) Concert

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.


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.

SET LIST

  • "Found"
  • "Free Mind"
  • "Looku Looku"
  • "Replay"
  • "Damages"
  • MUSICIANS

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

  • Director: ua.x
  • Producer: Ebuka Nwobu.
  • Audio: Akano (Spax) Samuel
  • Production Manager: Chisom Nwobu
  • DOP: FEDWORKS
  • 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
  • TINY DESK TEAM

  • 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
  • Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.