After 35 years since its release, Tracy Chapman’s song has won the Country Music Awards’ song of the year, making her the first Black songwriter to achieve this feat.
In 1988, Chapman’s soothing voice and guitar strums could be heard from every speaker with the success of her hit song “Fast Car.” According to Rolling Stone, she received a top award during Wednesday night’s CMA ceremony in Nashville. This annual event is known as one of the biggest gatherings for country music.
Chapman’s folk song recently experienced a surge in popularity after being released by the original creator and then covered by singer Luke Combs in 2023. This has resulted in Fast Car gaining newfound fame this summer.
Combs’s version achieved high rankings on multiple music charts, such as Billboard magazine’s Country Airplay chart, which monitors the most frequently played songs on American country music stations.
According to CNN, Chapman is the initial African American female to occupy the top position on the chart since its establishment in 1990.
Chapman, who is recognized for shying away from the limelight, was not in attendance at the ceremony where she was to receive an award. Instead, presenter Sara Evans read a statement on Chapman’s behalf.
“Unfortunately, I was unable to join everyone tonight. It is a great honor for my song to be recognized after 35 years since its debut,” expressed Chapman as she thanked Combs and all the Fast Car fans.
Combs’ version of the song was also awarded the title of single of the year.
During a speech, he expressed gratitude to Chapman for composing one of the greatest songs ever.
“I simply recorded it out of my love for the song. It has been my favorite since the age of four,” he stated.
Fans of Chapman also lauded the singer-songwriter’s victory.
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 shown her backing for Combs as well. In an uncommon declaration to Billboard in July, Chapman shared her joy for Combs’ accomplishments and appreciation for the fact that his popularity has led to new listeners discovering and appreciating “Fast Car.”
Chapman, who is 59 years old, has put out a total of 10 albums and has been recognized with multiple awards, including four Grammys.
Chapman included Fast Car on her first album, which shared the same name as her. The song became popular worldwide, especially after Chapman’s performance at a tribute event for Nelson Mandela’s 70th birthday.
Chapman is recognized for his support of various progressive groups, such as Amnesty International.
She explores a diverse array of subjects in her music, such as romance, relationships, societal issues, fairness, and conflict.
In a 2008 interview with The Guardian before the launch of her album Our Bright Future, Chapman openly discussed her advocacy for feminism.
“Yes, I identify as a feminist. It’s just not a topic that comes up often because people assume that we have moved past it. While progress has been made in terms of women’s equality in the workplace and how the legal system handles issues of violence against women,” Chapman stated.