A star is born in Raye, whose “Escapism” is the first U.K. No. 1 of 2023 – and the first of her career.

Based on early chart data, “Escapism” is heading for a second week in the box seat, though Lewis Capaldi could stage an upset.

Featuring U.S. rapper 070 Shake, “Escapism” leads the Official Charts Company’s First Look survey, which ranks singles based on the first 48 hours in the cycle.


“Escapism” is lifted from Raye’s upcoming debut album My 21st Century Blues, alongside “Hard Out Here,” “Black Mascara” and “The Thrill Is Gone,” and is released independently through Human Re Sources, after she cut ties with Polydor, part of Universal Music Group, in 2021.

“We are Number 1 in the U.K.! It’s the first Number 1 of the year, it’s my first Number 1 in my life. I’m an independent artist, this is sickening,” she tells the OCC.

Capaldi has plans of his own. The Scottish singer (and Raye’s touring mate) soars 15-2 with “Pointless,” co-written by Ed Sheeran.

Just 2,000 combined units currently separate the two best-sellers.

The chart race has some added spice. Just last week, Raye announced that Capaldi has welcomed her on his U.K. tour, which kicks off on Jan. 14 at Leeds’ First Direct Arena. Capaldi is “kindly letting me open his UK arena tour, I get to sing you some songs from my album on these huge stages just before it’s released,” Raye tweeted. “I am so grateful for this opportunity.”

Meanwhile, Stormzy’s “Hide & Seek” is juiced-up by a new remix featuring BRITs Rising Star and BBC Sound Of 2023 winners Flo. The grime star’s tune is set to rise 18-14.

The runner-up in the BBC Sound Of 2023 poll, Fred Again, could have the week’s highest new entry with “Rumble,” a collaboration with Skrillex and Flowdan. It’s forecast to arrive at No. 16, for what would be Skrillex’s fourth, Fred Again’s third, and Flowdan’s first top 40 appearances.

The Official U.K. Single Chart is published late Friday.