Ren earned his first Number One album today (October 20) with ‘Sick Boi’, and shared a video of his overjoyed reaction to celebrate.
The Welsh artist is seen sitting with a group of friends, listening out for the announcement on the radio, and when it’s announced that he’s topped the album chart, they all jump to their feet, screaming for joy.
Ren had been fighting neck-and-neck with Rick Astley for the top spot all week, but a last-minute surge in sales and streams meant he edged past Astley’s new album ‘Are We There Yet?’ in the last 24 hours before the chart was locked in.
Ren’s chart victory is especially significant because ‘Sick Boi’ was released without any label backing, and amid numerous health challenges for the artist. He has been living with various chronic health issues, including Lyme disease, which he documents on the album, and they have also prevented him from playing many shows. Ren told NME last week that he even had to turn down a slot at Glastonbury to focus on his health.
— Ren (@Renmakesmusic) October 20, 2023
Speaking to Official Charts, Ren said: “It’s all because of the fans that this has even happened. We’ve done this independently and the main foundation of promotion has been the fans showing up and showing support. What they’ve done in terms of spreading it – the amount that I’ve seen them pushing this record – is incredible. I want to say thank you to them so much.
“This feels incredible, it’s so affirming. For me and everybody all my best friends around me who’ve worked on pushing this record. This means so much to me, it feels like a victory over my illness. It feels very empowering.”
Meanwhile, when talking to NME In Conversation about what he believes his purpose as a musician to be, Ren said: “I’d like to say creating threads of humanity between topics that are sometimes quite difficult to talk about. It’s interesting because what I’ve realised from the community of people that are resonating with my work at the moment is that [it provides] a voice for people who either have chronic illness or anxiety disorders. I’m not trying to sugarcoat it. I’m not trying to make it anything other than as ugly as it can sometimes be – or as beautiful as it can sometimes be.
“And I think by creating that window into that world, a lot of people feel seen. I think it’s really important to see people because it’s a very isolating place to be a lot of the time. Say if you have a chronic health problem or anxiety where you don’t want to leave the house or talk to people, having a companion [in the form of music] is really important. And I think in mainstream music, it’s an area that’s not so much catered for. So I think being able to cater for that is my purpose.”