Nigerian singer Tems, real name Temilade Openiyi, has been nominated for an Oscar in the category of Best Original Song.
The artiste received the prestigious nod for her contribution to the song “Lift Me Up”, the soundtrack for Marvel’s 2022 superhero film Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.
The song was recorded and released by the celebrated Barbadian singer Rihanna, with the lyrics having been described as a tribute to the departed actor Chadwick Boseman, who played the role of T’challa in earlier installments of the Black Panther franchise.
“Rihanna is reflecting on the process between life and death. The song is a tribute to Chadwick Boseman, who passed away in 2020 after battling colon cancer,” UK’s radio station Capital Xtra notes on its website.
“Singer Tems, who co-wrote the song, spoke about her inspiration behind the track, and wrote that she ‘wanted to write something that portrays a warm embrace from all the people that I’ve lost in my life.’”
Tems, 27, expressed her excitement to be working on the project, writing on Instagram that she felt “blessed.”
Rihanna sent love to Tems for her role in co-writing the emotional ballad, commenting on Tem’s social media post.
“It’s the pen for me … love to you sistren,” Rihanna wrote.
Billboard reports: “Penning “Lift Me Up” with Ri, Oscar-winning composer Ludwig Göransson and director Ryan Coogler isn’t the only way Tems is contributing to Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. She also recorded a cover of Bob Marley’s “No Woman, No Cry” for the Wakanda Forever Prologue EP that dropped last July and was featured in the powerful teaser for the forthcoming Marvel sequel.”
The nominees for the 95th academy awards were released on Tuesday morning, ahead of the ceremony which is set for March 12 in Los Angeles.
On the Best Original Song Category, Lift Me Up will be up against Applause from the film “Tell It Like a Woman”, Hold My Hand (“Top Gun: Maverick”), Naatu Naatu (“RRR”) and This Is a Life (“Everything Everywhere All at Once”).
“Daniel Scheinert and Daniel Kwan’s oddball sci-fi movie, “Everything Everywhere All at Once,” led in the sheer number of nominations, with 11 total; Martin McDonagh’s “The Banshees of Inisherin” and Edward Berger’s “All Quiet on the Western Front” tied for second, with nine each,” The New York Times reports on the nominee list.
Tem’s rise to global fame and recognition can be traced back to her 2020 hit Essence, where she was featured by Nigerian superstar Wizkid.
“Within a few short moments in the global spotlight, she cemented her spot in music history as the first Nigerian and female African artist to win the Best International Act at the 2022 BET Awards — proving that the world stage is exactly where she belongs,” Global Citizen reports, adding, “She is also the first Nigerian musician to debut at number 1 on the Billboard 100 chart.”
The fast-rising singer and songwriter spoke about her motivation to keep at her craft in a 2022 interview with Rolling Stone. She described her mission as one where she hoped to change the perception of the world towards African women.
“What I’m trying to do,” she said, “or what I hope that God does through me, is for the image of the African woman to be [changed] to something luxurious, or desired, or sought after. For the demand of the African woman to go up… Let us not be chasing foreign things, let us be something to be chased. And that can’t just happen with me; it’s a together thing. It has to happen with a whole industry of women already doing real and amazing things. That’s the future.”