by Raye

Album: 21st Century Blues (2022)
Charted: 1
Play Video


  • "Escapism" is a trip-hop inspired song about dealing with emotional pain by pursuing hedonism. Following a breakup, Raye consumes coke, gets drunk, and sleeps with men rather than facing up to her feelings. She concludes the song by saying she has no regrets about her self-destructive episode, as she's forgotten her heartache.

    "Escapism is about running away from reality as fast as you possibly can," said Raye. "Going out alone, ignoring everybody who has your best interest at heart. Chasing a maze of smoke and mirrors because clarity is bitterly intimidating. When you're your lowest of lows, it's like survival mode mind numbing, running from real life because it's not something you want to see."
  • New Jersey rapper 070 Shake joins Raye on the track. She regrets the anger-fueled manic events, as reality is something you can't escape.
  • Raye wrote "Escapism" with Mike Sabath in a log cabin in Utah. The Los Angeles pop songwriter and producer has also worked with Camila Cabello ("Don't Go Yet") and Shawn Mendes ("It'll Be Okay").
  • Raye released "Escapism" as a single from 21st Century Blues. Back in July 2021, the singer left Polydor Records and became an independent artist because the label had been withholding her debut album for several years.
  • The Otis Dominique-directed video depicts a night of drink, drugs, and partying. "We worked really hard to create an honest depiction of where I was at that time in my life," Raye told Shots. "It was fun and wild. We shot it over a couple of days and wore point-of-view cameras during a wild night out at many different clubs. I pushed myself outside of my comfort zone and I ran 150 meters in 5-inch heels. We really took it there!"
  • Since featuring on Jonas Blue's 2016 single "By Your Side," Raye has established herself as one of the UK's most in-demand vocalists. Working with the likes of Jax Jones, Regard, David Guetta and Joel Corry, she clocked up a string of hits as a featured artist. "Escapism" is her first UK #1 solo single. She's previously topped the charts as one of the artists on the 2017 charity cover of "Bridge Over Troubled Water."

    Raye had also previously reached #3 in the UK Singles Chart twice as a guest vocalist: On Jax Jones's "You Don't Know Me" in 2016, and Joel Corry and David Guetta 2021 collaboration "BED."
  • When the song debuted at #100 on the Hot 100, it marked both Raye and 070 Shake's first visit as a performer on the chart. G.O.O.D. Music signee 070 Shake had previously charted five songs on the Hot 100 as a writer prior to "Escapism": Kanye West's 2018 Ye tracks "Ghost Town," "Yikes," "All Mine," and "Violent Crimes," and Beyoncé's 2022 Renaissance tune "Alien Superstar."
  • Raye wrote this through freestyle. "I remember running to the bathroom to do a little prayer before we pressed record," she recalled to Apple Music.
  • Raye wrote "Escapism" back in 2020. She noted that its topic of alcohol and drug abuse is often seen as a taboo subject matter for female singers.

    Raye, who has personally struggled with substance abuse, said that it can be challenging for women to address these issues so directly and candidly. "It's really difficult as a woman battling those demons specifically, because there's no healthy outlet," she reflected to NME.


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