|QUOTES – Tems tells Apple Music about ‘Leading Vibe Radio’
Tems tells Apple Music about the show title and how she developed the “Leading Vibe” brand from her 2018 single, “Mr Rebel”
“I don’t know why or how that phrase came into my song. Afterwards I realised that it came for a reason, and Leading Vibe is really what it says: leading the vibe and creating opportunities for people, creating an alternative, and helping people navigate life. It’s helping people to become leaders, helping people to find their own voice, their own sound, their own thing—and to get the best of life.”
Tems tells Apple Music about the purpose of the show
“‘Leading Vibe Radio’ is really aimed at talking about real things, shining a light on women, artists, and creatives that are finding their way, finding their voice, and talking about how to be good soil—something that greatness can grow out of.”
“Africa is the source, so pay attention. There are many ‘leading vibes,’ and it’s about all of us collectively coming together to lead the vibe—that’s Africa to the world.”
Tems tells Apple Music about the importance of finding your own sound/voice
“Finding a sound, and finding your own thing is really just the beginning to evolution. I want that for everybody. If everyone found their thing, life would be so much easier in general—especially coming from Africa where it’s really hard to find your thing. Because when you’re in survival mode, you’re not thinking about yourself or finding the ‘inner you’ or doing anything. You really just want to make money and be great and you want to come out of the struggle. I want that for everyone. I want everyone to find their real sound, because that’s maximising your potential.”
Tems tells Apple Music about building communities of empowered women
“Women need each other. We need to be there for each other in a real way—and I think, for a long time, not just in music but also in life, women haven’t really had a community, a real type of understanding. It’s because most of the time women are pitted against each other. There always has to be one ‘top person.’ But imagine if we were all ‘top’—then the standard of living would be better. I see it’s happening already because we’re all realising that we need each other. Nobody can do it alone.”
Tems tells Apple Music about her co-hosts
“Muyiwa [Awoniyi] is my manager, and he was my friend first. He has a lot of wisdom, and that’s the point of this radio show: to help people increase their energy, to edify what’s already in them. Tunji [Adetunji “Tunji” Paul] is my older brother, and he’s the person that I used to make music when we were much younger. He is really into highlighting Africa, and creatives. He’s a digital artist; he’s a software engineer, and he’s someone that loves the intricacies of music.”
Quotes previewing Episode 1
Tems on the role of music in her life and childhood
Growing up, I just remember, we had a Celine Dion cassette, and we used to listen to Celine Dion when I was really young, like nursery, and I just know it made me feel alive. And that was my introduction. That was what I understood as music at that time. And that formed my own understanding of it.
And it never became, “Oh, wow. So music is life,” or, “Music does something, heals you inside, or does… Wow.” It’s just a knowing. I don’t need to tell you. When did you realize you could breathe? When did you realize that, inside of you, your heart is actually beating? When did you say, “Oh, wow. I can breathe. Whoa.” There isn’t actually a realization. It’s just a knowing. And if you don’t know, then you are not awake.
Tems on singing as a child
I remember when we used to have breakfast, Tunji used to actually tell me to shut up all the time. He used to be like, “Why do you always sing?” And literally, that was everybody’s reaction to me. We could just be at breakfast, and maybe there’s a cereal box, and it says “So good for you” on the cereal box. I would literally just be like, “So good for you. So good.” I literally make a song out of that “So good for you.” It was just coming out anywhere.
This is not something I intentionally did, like, “Oh, I’m going to make a song.” It just started happening, and I wasn’t aware of it. It still happens now, where sometimes I’m looking for something, then I realize, “Wait, I’m singing something. When did I start singing this random thing?”
At what point could I possibly have realized that, “Oh my God, music is this”? It’s just something that has… As I live and breathe, I’m going through experiences. And these experiences translate into feelings within me that I have to release. It’s like eating and… And so basically, I digest experiences, and I have to let it out. It has to come out.
Tems on confidence
I would call myself confident, for sure. I think when you have a certain level of awareness, you cannot not be. It’s like if the lion realizes he’s a lion, then what is the reason for him to act like a rat? Imagine a lion. He knows he’s a lion. Why… That’s not even an option. That’s not even in his mind. And I feel like the more you realize who you are, the more confident you are because you know what’s important. Nothing else matters. And I haven’t always been confident. I think as children, we’re all confident. I think we’re born into this world full of new adventures, and we just go into them, and we just do things. I think, along the way, life happened. And my confidence was actually… Actually, there was a time that I had no self-worth or value, or I genuinely believed I was meant to be the mat that people stepped on.
I just had people around me telling me I was not anything. And when someone tells you long enough and they treat you that way… And I was isolated for a long time. When I was in school I couldn’t eat in public. I wasn’t someone that people liked. And I was like, “Yeah, if my presence is bothering people, I’m just going to move away and not be with… I’m just going to do my thing and go and find what I like. And I’ll find one friend, maybe, and then me and the friend would be friends.”
Tems on copycats, originality and finding your own sound
I think it’s better for whoever to find themselves and what they like. And when you’re aware of yourself, then you’re aware of how your music sounds holistically. You’re aware of what you are doing and who you are. And to be honest, music always sounds better when you block all those things out. I had a phase when I used to listen to Kate Nash. Do you remember? She’s this British singer that is like really, really, really, really happy, happy, happy. And then I started making music like that. That’s where I got whatever British accent. The completion of my British accent, wherever that comes from, it’s from me making those songs to sound like her. And obviously, at some point, I knew that was what I was doing. But I did it to check if I could, not to actually be that.
The reason why I was making songs that emulated her was because it was something I had never heard before. And I was trying to see if I could do it. And when I decided that I could, I wasn’t interested actually in being that. I just wanted to be me. So, I just continued on my own journey.
I think the difference is, I think when you are not aware, when you listen to artists that you like, you take them on, as you, rather than as people to learn from. It’s not actually the music that you should copy. It’s the principle behind the music. It’s not about, oh, how does this music sound? It’s the principle behind the sound. It’s the messaging. It’s the meaning.
When people listen to music that has meaning it lasts. When people listen to music that doesn’t have meaning, but is fun, then it is what it is. It’s fun for the time. And then they drop it and they never go back to it because it was easily digestible. But when you have a song that has meaning, it makes you think. It makes you heal. It makes you rediscover something.
Tems on whether she sees herself as a leader
In a way I do, but I see myself as a servant leader. I see myself as someone who aims to serve, aims to help, aims to heal, aims to make life a little better. And in me doing that, I recognize that that will cause an effect of followership, which is just the way life goes. Because people that follow me are leaders in themselves. This is the leading vibe. I’m the leading vibe, but so are you. It’s a movement. It’s the ocean, it’s… While leading the vibe, you’re leading the vibe from following my vibe and making your own vibe and people are following your vibe. And then becoming leaders themselves. And that’s the point.
Tems on the misconception that she and Tunji came from a rich background
I’m just sending big love to my mom, to our mom, because of who she is. And she stopped at nothing. We couldn’t afford to go to the school we went to, some rich kid school. Everybody in that school knew that we weren’t rich. My mom was the doctor of the school clinic. My mom got a job at my school. Yeah, it wasn’t roses. But we are around people that could speak English, so we thank God that we are. We thank God that we don’t look like what we went through.
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