Raye just claimed her first number 1 – and taught us all an important lesson in the process

The five-time Brit nominee reached the top of the charts with her single Escapism.

Seeing women get the success they deserve is always a source of joy – but it’s especially powerful when that success has been a long-time coming.

That’s the case with singer-songwriter Raye, who has finally topped the UK charts as an independent artist after splitting from her record label in 2021 following claims by the artist that the label had refused to release her debut album.

Raye – whose discography includes Hard Out Here and Call On Me – hit the number one spot on Friday (6 January) with her song Escapism. The song, which features 070 Shake, was streamed over 5.6 million times in the UK over the last week, thanks in part to its recent virality on TikTok. 

While seeing Raye hit the number one spot is worthy of celebration alone, the fact that she did it after going independent is even more special – a situation the singer acknowledged during an interview with the BBC on Friday.

“As someone who writes for a living, I have no words,” she said. “I’ve been crying all day. It just shows that you should back yourself, no matter what people tell you.”

She continued: “And we’ve done it independently – that’s just crazy.” 

Raye made the decision to part ways with her label Polydor in summer 2021 after sharing her “pain” over how she was being treated on Twitter.

“Imagine this pain,” she wrote. “I have been signed to a major label since 2014…and I have had albums on albums of music sat in folders collecting dust, songs I am now giving away to A-list artists because I am still awaiting confirmation that I am good enough to release an album.”

She continued: “I’ve done everything [the label] asked me, I switched genres, I worked seven days a week, ask anyone in the music game, they know. I’m done being a polite pop star. I want to make my album now, please that is all I want.” 

In a statement given to NME in response to these tweets a Polydor spokesperson said the label was “saddened” to hear of Raye’s concerns and had reached out to her management team to rectify the situation, but the singer songwriter announced her departure from the label less than a month later. 

Since then, Raye has signed with the distribution and artist services company Human Re Sources, which is helping her release her debut album My 21st Century Blues on 3 February.

If one thing’s for sure, Raye’s journey is a reminder of how important it is to back yourself. 2023 is shaping up to be Raye’s year – and we can’t wait to see it. 

Image: Getty

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