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3 Lessons Learned From Tems BET Award-Winning Night

Nigerian singer Temilade Openiyi famously known as Tems, winning two BET awards in one night, reaffirms her lyrics  “Ideally we’re not the same“ in her 2019 hit single, ”Try Me.”  On Sunday 26th, 2022, Tems rewrote history at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles, where the 2022 BET award ceremony was held.

The alternate singer beat seasoned musicians like Fireboy, UK singers Little Sims and Dave, Dinos, and Tayc from France, Fally Ipupa from Congo, and Ludmilla from Brazil to emerge as the first African and Nigerian female artiste to win the BET Best International Act Award.

In the same breath, while she was soaking in the news of her first BET award as a best international act, she bagged another award. The second award was earned after ousting the likes of Lil Durk, Lil Baby, Nicki Minaj, DJ Khaled, Drake, SZA, Doja Cat, Kendrick Lamar, and BIA, to win the BET award for best collaboration.

This award was granted based on her stellar performance in the remix of  Wikzid’s Essence, which featured both her and Justin Bieber.  There is no telling the joy and satisfaction she must have felt in those moments that prompted her to give this heartwarming speech:

“It’s an honour. I mean, this is the first award show that I’m winning. I want to use this as an opportunity to speak to every single young, old, whatever, every single woman watching this, every single girl watching this at home where I’m from, things like this don’t happen.”


With Barely ten years in both the Nigerian and international music scene, Tems won two BET awards in one night, which skyrocketed her career beyond reasonable imagination. Her most recent wins at the 2022 BET awards put her in the big league of Nigerian artists like Wizkid, Davido, Burnaboy, Ice prince, Dbanj, and 2baba, who have won BET awards in the past.

Still in high spirits as she received her BET awards, Tems admonished “women and girls” to continue on their chosen paths.

Lessons Learned From Tems Winning 2022 BET Awards

There is a Cleopatra of lessons to be learned from Tems winning the 2022 BET award. This article explores three fundamental lessons creatives should take into cognizance from Tems 2022 BET award wins. Kindly read to the end.

  1. Start Small And Afraid

Like most creatives, the 2022 BET award winner once didn’t believe in herself and doubted her craft.  Even though she had grown up singing in her local church choir since 2009, Tems didn’t think she was a good singer. She had condemned her voice even before her music career began. In an interview with Fader, she revealed that she once thought her unique voice was too heavy to sing. As a result, she became timid and began to sing Falsetto because she felt her voice was too masculine.  For a long time, This made her shy away from singing as she downplayed herself.

Joining her school’s choir changed the entire trajectory of her musical career because it put her on the spot. She started recording songs alongside the choir and rehearsed with her brother’s guitar.  Within a short while, the narrative about her voice changed for good when her music teacher stepped in to teach her voice control with staunch bouts of encouragement.  This goes to say; that if you are waiting for the perfect time or voice, it might never come, so start small and afraid too.  

  1. Consistency Is Key  To Winning

Tems understands that prayer is the master key in religion, but when it comes to creativity, consistency is the key that opens the door to winning major awards. So she didn’t just start singing afraid at the time that she did. Instead, she stayed faithful to the course to hone her skills. Hence, her swift transition from a timid falsetto singer to one of the most reverenced alternate singers on the planet.

Her career progression is one to marvel at. Starting from the release of her first EP, “Time Swap EP,” in 2013 to her first single, “Mr. Rebel,” with over  200,000 views on youtube, to her  2018 album, “Illumination.”  Tems went on to carve a niche for herself in the Nigerian music industry by sailing the boat of consistency. However, fans were barely done relishing her second single, Looku Looku, when she dropped her hit single, “Try me,” in 2019. “Try me” ousted her to the world and marked the defining moment of her music career with over 2 million youtube views.

Then in 2020, she blessed our ears with another single, titled “ Damages” before she dropped her “For Broken Ears,” which turned out to be a successful EP. In the same 2020, she featured one of Wizkid’s Made in Lagos tracks titled Essence.

  1. Hard Work Pays

The Try Me hit singer didn’t just stay consistent after t starting small and afraid; she put in the work to balance the equation, which resulted in 2 BET awards for her.  However, before winning the BET awards, which she claims is her win at anything in life, Tems had some notable successes and moments in her musical career due to her hard work and diligence. 

Some of such wins include appearing on Billboard’s Hot 100 music in 2021 alongside top guns like Wizkid with their song Essence. She also got featured on Barack Obama’s summer playlist twice in 2020 (first for the remix of Know your worth featuring Khalid, Davido, and herself. The second time was still for Wizkid’s Essence).

She also got international recognition when Essence was nominated for Grammy awards. This opened doors for collaboration with international artists like Drake and Future. She became one of Nigeria’s biggest international talents when she featured on Drake’s ‘Certified Lover Boy album. In May 2022, she received her second platinum plaque when Future took to Twitter to clarify the artist’s credit on the album. Consistency and hard work make her distinctive.


Apart from these three core lessons, another exemplary trait of the alternative singer is her ability to stay calm and composed even under pressure. A good example is an unfortunate incident in Uganda where she and singer Omahlay got arrested at a concert. As creatives in whatever capacity, we should emulate Tems to a large extent; start small, no matter how little, and put your fears to rest via hard work and consistency while staying calm.


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