Official Charts Flashback 2003: Blu Cantrell – Breathe

15 years after Blu and Sean Paul stormed to Number 1, Breathe still holds up as a summer anthem.

If you ask anyone what the tune of summer 2003 was, there’s a good chance they’ll answer Beyoncé’s Crazy In Love. But for others, there was another smash hit that seemed to spring up from nowhere to take residence at the top as the long hot summer drew to a close.

Providence-born singer Tiffany Cobb aka Blu Cantrell hadn’t made much of an impression on the Official Singles Chart before Breathe – her monster hit which featured man-of-the-moment Sean Paul on guest rap duties. Her only previous dipped toe in the great big lake that is the Official Chart was 2001’s Hit ‘Em Up Style (Oops), a R&B girlpower anthem that peaked at Number 12. Prior to that, she had sung backup for several artists, including Puff Daddy.

Her next hit more than made up for Blu’s absence from the Top 40, as Breathe slammed straight in at Number 1 and refused to budge for four weeks.

If we’re honest, Blu probably had Jamaican dancehall star Sean Paul to thank for the track’s success. Coming straight off the back of his signature song Get Busy, Breathe couldn’t help be a hit, and his follow-up, Like Glue, nestled a place below Breathe the week it was knocked off Number 1 by Elton John’s Are You Ready For Love.

A last breath for Blu

While it would be Blu Cantrell’s first and only visit to Number 1, and indeed the Top 10, it was followed by a string of top tier hits for Sean Paul, including an all-star collaboration with Beyonce on Baby Boy. He’d have to wait a decade for a second Number 1, however, reaching the summit as a guest on The Saturdays' What About Us in early 2013. 

Breathe was a bonafide smash, and has sold 471,000 copies to date. It shifted 330,000 in 2003 alone, making it the eighth best-seller of year – Crazy In Love, if you’re interested (and we know you are) came in at 15th. Since 2014, Breathe has been streamed 27.5 million times in the UK. 

Breathe held off two other strong contenders for the top spot that week, the first was from New York singer Lumidee, who debuted at Number 2 with the summery earworm Never Leave You (Uh Oooh Uh Oooh). She would remain in the Top 5 for another three weeks, and would never again chart inside the Top 40.

A firm fixture at the top end of the chart, Robbie Williams debuted at Number 3 with Something Beautiful, the third single from his phenomenally successful Escapology album. The track was originally offered to Tom Jones before being snapped up by Robbie. 

Elsewhere in the chart that week, there were new entries from Kosheen, Craig David, Lisa Mafia a more. Check out the full Top 100 Official Singles Chart from this week in 2003.

Listen to the UK Top 40 from this week in 2002 on our streaming channels. Subscribe to our weekly Flashback playlist on SpotifyDeezerApple Music.