Tinie Tempah's real name is Patrick Chukwuem Okogwu Jr. His Igbo parents, Rosemary and Patrick Okogwu Sr. moved from Nigeria while they were in their twenties to the Aylesbury Estate near Peckham, in south London. He has three younger siblings: Kelly, Kelvin, and Marian.
His middle name, Chukwuemeka, means "God has done more" in the Igbo language.
Tinie's father set up a barber's shop but sold up when their son was 10 and retrained as a social worker. His mother, meanwhile, worked for the NHS. By the time he was 12, his parents had saved up enough money to move the family to the quiet, leafy London suburb of Plumstead.
At 12 years old, Tempah came up with his stage name after viewing the music video for So Solid Crew's "21 Seconds". He explained to The Independent:
"I looked up 'anger' in the thesaurus, and I was staring at 'temper.' I thought, 'This is a little bit aggressive.' I didn't want to scare anyone off. So I added Tinie. By playtime, Tinie Tempah was born."
Tinie Tempah is not really tiny. He is, in fact, of average height (around 5" 9").
Tinie Tempah's first ever raps were recorded on a £20 microphone from a British computer store as it was the only thing he could afford to make music on. He recalled:
"A lot of people see it (his career) as glitz and glamour but this has by no means been easy at all. I grew up in Peckham, I got a £20 microphone from PC World and started recording my first raps when I was 12 or 13. We didn't really have anything, there weren't that many prospects or hopes. There were hardly any British rappers we could look at. I've put in a lot of graft."
His biggest moment of rebellion as a late teenager was telling his parents he wasn't going to university and was going to be a rapper instead. "That was a difficult conversation," Tempah recalled. "We agreed that I would take a year off to see how far I got and at first it didn't look promising. My mum would walk in from work at three or four in the afternoon and I would still be sleeping. She'd be, like, 'What the hell is this?'"
Tempah was signed by Parlophone Records after scout and music consultant Jade Richardson saw him performing at the 2009 Wireless Festival. His debut single "Pass Out
" was released the following February and debuted at #1 on the UK Singles Chart.
Once he began selling records, Tempah moved to an East London house that once belonged to the late fashion designer Alexander McQueen. His home is full of stuffed animals. "The giraffe was already there, but I bought a zebra, which is my favourite animal, so that the giraffe could have a friend in the house," he said. "I'm not going to lie because I get some weird vibes in there, but it's positive and I think it's added and contributed to my creativity."
Tinie Tempah tied the knot with his longtime partner Raye on July 4, 2019 at a church in Cirencester, England.