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How Kenya Grace made chart history as her self-produced single ‘Strangers’ reaches No 1

Chart newcomer Kenya Grace has made history as her debut single “Strangers” reached the No 1 spot.

Born in South Africa but raised in Southampton, Grace began releasing music independently in 2019. She put out tracks such as “Tell Me Why”, “Talk” and “Oranges”, which failed to make an impact on the charts.

But it was “Strangers”, Grace’s self-produced drum and bass single which put the singer on the musical map. The track became big on TikTok and rose up the charts, hitting the top spot on Friday (13 October).

In doing so, Grace became one of only two British female artists to reach the No 1 spot on the Official Charts with a track performed, written and produced entirely solo.

The only other act to hold this record is Kate Bush. However, it wasn’t “Wuthering Heights” that earnt Bush this accolade, but her 1985 track “Running Up That Hill (A Deal With God)” when it re-entered the charts in 2022 following a feature on Stranger Things.

On her No 1 song, Grace said: “This is absolutely mental. Thank you so much for everyone who has streamed and supported and made videos with this song. This has literally changed my life, 100 per cent. Thank you so much!”

“Strangers” rose up the charts over a six week period, knocking Doja Cat off the top spot she had occupied with “Paint The Town Red” for five weeks.

The track is also the first debut single by a British female artist to reach No 1 in nine years, the last being Ella Henderson’s “Ghost” in 2014.

Grace initially found success with “Strangers” on TikTok in July, when she shared a video singing along to the track’s chorus in her bedroom with the caption: “I swear sad songs & liquid drum and bass is the best combination.”

In the caption, Grace explained that “writing sad songs is my therapy”. The clip was watched more than 11 million times, with fans begging her to release the song.

She posted it again in a follow-up video which was watched more than 38 million times, and eventually released the full track in September.