Born in the Wild

Born in the Wild

Almost six years after releasing her breakout single, 2018’s “Mr Rebel,” Nigerian superstar Tems delivers her debut LP, Born in the Wild. Of course, that interim has been characterized by a trajectory that’s trended upward at almost every turn. From her acclaimed 2020 debut EP For Broken Ears to global megahit collaborations with Wizkid (and later Justin Bieber) on “Essence” and Drake on “Fountains” to 2021’s sophomore EP, If Orange Was a Place, to appearances on 2022’s Black Panther: Wakanda Forever soundtrack (including songwriting credits for Rihanna’s “Lift Me Up”) and Beyoncé’s RENAISSANCE and a Grammy win for Future and Drake’s “Wait for U” in 2023—the alté-R&B star has experienced an almost exponential rise. That kind of journey is part of what makes Born in the Wild all the more captivating. Over 18 tracks, Tems cracks open her journal through those career highs, and reveals how the person behind them grappled with it all. “I had to step back a bit, to check in with myself,” Tems (Temilade Openiyi) tells Apple Music, “and also just find healing from all the trauma and everything I experienced before ‘Tems.’ I think I had to unlearn a lot of things. This album is just a new way of me expressing myself, while still centering who I am in it.” Here, she works through moments of feeling like an impostor, of rebuilding her self-confidence, of learning the ins and outs of relationships, and of learning to trust herself. Don’t read that as insecure, however—this is the journal of someone who’s done the work, and who’s fully ready to embrace the next chapter. It’s all brought to life through Tems’ usual brand of honest, mature storytelling—and here, as ever, the centerpiece remains a distinctive voice that simultaneously balances multiple layers of raw, delicate emotion and a natural, unforced ease. That reflective songwriting shows a sonic maturity that’s unrestricted by genre: She traverses from R&B (“Burning”) to fusions of Afrobeats and amapiano (“Get It Right”), balanced with celebrations of culture and heritage, like her reimagined version of Seyi Sodimu’s 1997 hit, the breezy “Love Me JeJe.” Below, Tems talks through these and more key tracks from Born in the Wild. “Born in the Wild” “‘Born in the Wild’ is a story of transformation from a cocoon to a butterfly. It speaks on surviving a mental wilderness that comes with life, and coming to a place where one can thrive. It's about accepting oneself, and embodying the woman I was born to be. It shows the different dimensions of who Tems is, and her journey from a cub to a lioness.” “Burning” “‘Burning’ is about the feelings I felt when I first started getting popular as Tems. I didn't really understand what was happening, and everything was happening so fast. And it's about me looking back on that time and realizing that we are all going through something. We all have our internal battles. We all have the things that we struggle with, our triggers. And ‘Burning’ is really about understanding that I have my triggers too, and now I know that I'm not alone. And there's many people that have felt the way I do about not wanting to be seen, not really being used to attention, and people trying to take advantage of you in many different ways.” “Love Me JeJe” “‘Love Me JeJe’ is a sweet, happy song about finding unconditional love. The joy of finding a love that doesn't run out and not settling for anything else. Just basking in the sun, basking in that unconditional type of love.” “Get It Right” (feat. Asake) “This is just about a conversation between two people and one is saying, ‘I know you're scared, but if you do me right, I always got your back, because that's who I am.’ And it's just about two people feeling each other and wanting to explore more.” “Unfortunate” “‘Unfortunate’ is about realizing that the person that you put your trust in isn't worth your time. And also being thankful that the person showed themselves early, and the person disappointed you. And it's basically finding the good in the bad. This was a disappointment, but it is actually great that it was, because it means that I'm winning, and I'm going to overcome this, and I don't need to be with you anymore. It is a blessing that I'm not obligated by any means to stay with you, and it's a blessing that I'm not with you.” “Forever” “Forever is about the aftermath of a breakup, when the guy comes circling back, and it's coming from a place of healing, it's coming from a place of ‘I’ve moved on already, but it's interesting to see you scramble because I'm moving on. It's the desperation for me from you. I love that you are so desperate to get me back you're always checking for me, stalking me, checking for what I'm doing, and it's really intriguing and fascinating to see.’” “Free Fall” (feat. J. Cole) “This is about, after you fell in love with someone, they fell in love too. It was great until you realize that you both were new to it, and they didn't really know what to do in the relationship. It's about knowing, ‘If I stay, I'm going to be drained,’ and knowing your limits and setting your boundaries. It's basically reflecting on all of that. Reflecting on the fact that I had to go, because if I didn't go, it would have been detrimental.” “Me & U” “‘Me & U’ is about reconnecting with God. It's a new conversation. It's about reconnecting with your inner child and the truth. It's about now being honest with yourself about who you are, and about having faith that everything is going to be okay, as long as you believe.” “You in My Face” “‘You in My Face’ is a conversation with the inner me, the inner child, and it's about finding peace within, and also hoping that I don't get lost again.”

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