Tems: Tiny Desk Concert


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This Black Music Month, Tiny Desk is giving the ladies their flowers. We’re releasing nine Tiny Desk concerts from Black women artists, from veterans who’ve paved the way for what we hear today in Black music, to those who are carving out their own paths.

Bobby Carter | June 3, 2024
To hear Tems tell the audience that she was shy came as a surprise to me. As a performer, she captivates us with such ease and exudes confidence when she’s not, so to see her blushing as the crowd roared was sweet to witness. Unlike most artists who’ve performed at the Desk, the Nigerian singer-songwriter took a chance by playing a set filled with songs from her forthcoming debut album, Born in the Wild.

A lot has happened in Tems’ world since her Tiny Desk (home) concert a couple of years ago. She’s won dozens of awards including a Grammy, worked with Beyoncé and written for Rihanna, all of which helped to keep her name on our minds and music in the clubs. These new songs indicate time well spent between her breakout moment a few years ago and now. “Unfortunate” is less Afrobeats and more straightforward R&B, flexing her development as a writer. “Forever” is powerful in the way she reaches a vocal range I had no idea she could, while “Love Me JeJe” was the hands-down standout. At the time of the taping, the song had yet to be released, but the rhythm pierced the room and had us all in line for the call and response.

SET LIST
“Me & U”
“Ice T”
“Unfortunate”
“Forever”
“Love Me JeJe”

MUSICIANS
Tems: lead vocals
Daniel Crawford: keys, music direction
Brett Baker: percussion
Erick Walls: guitar
Eric Ingram: bass
Robert Johnson: drums
Olivia Williams: vocals
Ashly Williams: vocals
Kadeem Nichols: vocals

TINY DESK TEAM
Producer: Bobby Carter 
Director/Editor: Kara Frame
Audio Technical Director: Josephine Nyounai
Videographers: Kara Frame, Joshua Bryant, Alanté Serene, Mitra I. Arthur
Audio Engineer: Neil Tevault
Production Assistant: Ashley Pointer
Photographer: Estefania Mitre
Animation: Jackie Lay
Florist: Kelanda Edwards
Tiny Desk Team: Hazel Cills, Maia Stern
Executive Producer: Suraya Mohamed
Series Creators: Bob Boilen, Stephen Thompson
VP, Visuals and Music: Keith Jenkins

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