I was bullied for having an ‘ugly’ voice – Tems

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Grammy-winning Nigerian singer, Tems has said she was ridiculed over the pitch of her voice when she was younger.

The ‘Essence’ singer said hurtful comments were hurled at her and sometimes her voice was compared to that of a boy and frog while she was growing up.



Speaking in an interview with The Cut, Tems disclosed that she did not speak even as a toddler until the age of three stressing that singing, however, came naturally to her.

“I was bullied to the point of tears and was a target of ridicule. This led to the belief that I sounded like a boy, or a frog, with the impression that my voice was ugly,” she noted.

Recalling her attempts to push through the ridicule, Tems admitted that her high school teacher Mr. Sosan’s tutelage helped her develop the faith to sound like herself.

“I started to want that deepness. I wanted to lean into my weirdness,” Tems said.

Tems, Wizkid, Zendaya... win at BET Awards 2022; See complete list of winners
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Despite her efforts to connect with peers, she found herself alienated by the stark contrast between her voice and the perceived ideal of femininity.

“I was always in my own little world. When I did make friends, I would try to make them sing my songs and other girls had these sweet, high voices, and my voice had a bass.”

Last year, Tems disclosed that she had only begun a music career because she had no friends.




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