Published On: Thu, Nov 9th, 2023
Music | By MDN

Tracy Chapman’s Fast Car wins country song of the year – 35 years after its debut | Music

Tracy Chapman has become the first Black songwriter to win the Country Music Awards’ song of the year – 35 years after the relevant number was a hit for her.

It was 1988 when Chapman’s dulcet tones and guitar plucks emanated from seemingly every speaker with her smash Fast Car. On Wednesday night in Nashville, during the CMA’s ceremony, it won a top award, Rolling Stone first reported. The annual award ceremony is one of the largest celebrations of country music.

The latest win for Chapman’s folk song came long after its debut by the creator after a 2023 version of the song by singer Luke Combs. It helped Fast Car gain newfound popularity this summer.

Combs’s cover reached top spots on several music charts, including Billboard magazine’s Country Airplay chart, which tracks the most played songs on US country music stations.

Chapman is the first Black woman to hold the number 1 spot on the chart since its creation in 1990, CNN reported.

Chapman, who is known for avoiding the spotlight, was not present for the award ceremony. A statement was read on Chapman’s behalf by presenter Sara Evans.

“I’m sorry I couldn’t join you all tonight. It’s truly an honor for my song to be newly recognized after 35 years of its debut,” Chapman wrote, thanking Combs and “all of the fans of Fast Car”.

Combs’s rendition of the song was also named single of the year.

In a speech, he thanked Chapman “for writing one of the best songs of all time”.

“I just recorded it because I loved the song. It’s the first favorite song that I ever had, at four years old,” he said.

Chapman fans similarly praised the singer-songwriter’s win.

Comments on X, formerly known as Twitter, included: “One of the most perfect songs ever. Love it with all my heart” and “Historic”.

Chapman has also expressed her support of Combs. In a rare public statement in July to Billboard, Chapman said she was “happy for [Combs] and his success and grateful that new fans have found and embraced ‘Fast Car’”.

Chapman, 59, has released 10 albums in total and received numerous accolades, including four Grammy awards.

Fast Car was featured by Chapman on her debut, self-titled album. It gained international success, particularly after Chapman performed the song at a tribute concert for Nelson Mandela’s 70th birthday.

Chapman is known for supporting several progressive organizations, including Amnesty International.

Her music similarly covers a wide range of topics, including love, family, politics, equality and war.

In a 2008 Guardian interview ahead of the release of her album Our Bright Future, Chapman spoke openly about her support of feminism.

“Yeah, course [I am a feminist]. I think it just doesn’t come up because … people think we’re beyond it. There have been some gains made in terms of more equality for women in the workplace and in the way the legal system deals with issues of violence against women,” Chapman said.

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