Music Reviews

The Simple Story Behind Tems Higher lyrics

The Simple Story Behind Tems Higher lyrics

“Higher” is a testament to Tems’ artistic vision and production prowess. The song’s emotional impact arises from a carefully crafted interplay of minimalist instrumentation, evolving textures, and Tems’ captivating vocals.

Tems is the stage name of Nigerian singer-songwriter Temilade Openiyi, an artist defying easy categorization. Her music transcends genres, weaving together threads of alternative R&B, neo-soul, and Afrobeats with a distinct intimacy and emotional depth.

Born in Lagos, Nigeria, Tems developed an early love for music, citing influences like Lauryn Hill, Beyonce, and Asa. She began writing and producing her own music in her teens, and in 2019, her single “Try Me” catapulted her onto the international stage.

Tems’ refusal to be confined to a single genre is inspiring a new generation of African artists to embrace their own unique sonic identities. She is a powerful voice for young women, speaking candidly about love, heartbreak, and self-discovery through her music.

Higher by Tems:

Released in 2020, this introspective R&B ballad delves into themes of self-discovery, personal growth, and emotional empowerment. Tems’ signature husky vocals soar over a minimalistic yet captivating soundscape, weaving a poetic narrative of rising above past hurts and limitations.

Higher resonated deeply with listeners for its raw vulnerability and uplifting message. It became an anthem for self-acceptance and resilience, encouraging individuals to embrace their true selves and strive for personal evolution. The song’s success propelled Tems onto the global stage, earning her critical acclaim and collaborations with renowned artists like Wizkid and Beyoncé.

Exploration of “Higher” Lyrics

1. Inner Turmoil and Healing:

The song opens with a sense of vulnerability and emotional distress, as Tems sings: “Found you on the ground, you were dying / Now you comin’ to my yard uninvited.” This suggests she’s confronting past hurts and internal struggles, a necessary step towards healing.

Lines like “Can you put the time on rewind? Yeah / Help me understand, can you tell me now? Why you made the war that we’re fighting now?” reveal a yearning for understanding and resolution to internal conflicts.

2. Confronting Doubts and Rising Above:

The chorus soars with the lines: “I wanna go higher, higher, where the clouds can’t reach me / And the darkness can’t see me.” This expresses a desire to transcend limitations and rise above doubts and negative emotions.

Tems challenges self-sabotaging behavior, singing: “My demons keep callin’, like ‘girl, why you goin’ up?’ / I tell them, ‘shut your mouth, I’m not comin’ down now’.” This showcases her determination to break free from negativity and embrace personal growth.

3. Self-Acceptance and Empowerment:

The song culminates in a message of self-acceptance and empowerment. Tems declares: “I’m my own angel, ain’t nobody else gonna save me / So I’ll keep on climbin’, ’til I finally break free.” This highlights her reliance on her own strength and inner voice to overcome challenges.

The repeated refrain of “I wanna go higher” serves as a powerful mantra, emphasizing her unwavering commitment to personal evolution and reaching her full potential.

“Higher” delves into universal themes of emotional healing, self-doubt, and the unwavering pursuit of self-growth. Tems’ raw and honest lyrics resonate with listeners who have faced challenges and uncertainties in their own lives.

The song offers a message of hope and resilience, encouraging individuals to embrace their struggles, confront their demons, and strive for a higher version of themselves.

Beyond the lyrical analysis, the song’s impact extends to:

  • Inspiring a new generation: Tems’ refusal to be confined to a single genre and her powerful lyrics resonate with young people seeking their own authentic voices.
  • Empowering women: The song’s message of self-reliance and determination resonates with women, encouraging them to embrace their strength and independence.
  • Elevating Afrobeats: “Higher” showcases the versatility and global appeal of Afrobeats, further pushing the genre into the international spotlight.

The Inspiration Behind “Higher”

Based on interviews and insights, we can glean some clues about the potential inspirations behind the song’s themes and emotions. Tems has openly spoken about her challenging journey as a female artist navigating a male-dominated industry. She has faced struggles with self-doubt and societal expectations, themes heavily reflected in “Higher.”

In a Billboard interview, she mentioned: “Things change drastically, you can’t rely on who you were […] You become a target until you develop yourself.” This aligns with the song’s message of confronting internal battles and evolving into a stronger version of oneself.

Tems has mentioned the importance of faith and spirituality in her life. This is evident in the song’s lyrics, such as “God on my side” and “Big God got my back.” The concept of “going higher” can be interpreted metaphorically as seeking spiritual growth and transcending earthly limitations.

Composition and production

The song opens with a stark, sparse soundscape. A lone piano, its notes echoing with a haunting reverb, lays the foundation for Tems’ hushed vocals. This minimalist approach accentuates the vulnerability in her voice, drawing the listener into the depths of her emotional vulnerability. The absence of heavy percussion gives space for Tems’ lyrics to carry the weight of the song, creating a sense of intimacy and introspection.

As the song progresses, subtle layers are added. A delicate bass line emerges, underpinning the melody without overwhelming it. The production of “Higher” is marked by its masterful restraint. Every element serves a purpose, avoiding the temptation to overpower the song’s emotional core.

Higher was produced by Tems alongside Tejiri Akpoghene. The mixing emphasizes the clarity of Tems’ vocals, ensuring that her rawness and vulnerability are conveyed with unparalleled honesty.

In Summary

While the exact inspiration behind “Higher” remains shrouded in some mystery, the song’s themes and emotions draw from various aspects of Tems’ life and artistic expression. It captures the universal human experience of confronting challenges, seeking self-acceptance, and striving for personal growth. Ultimately, “Higher” transcends specific inspirations and stands as a powerful anthem for resilience, hope, and the pursuit of a better self.

“Higher” is much more than just a song; it’s a journey of self-discovery, a call to action, and an anthem for anyone who has ever dared to dream of reaching their full potential.

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