Tracy Chapman makes history at Country Music Awards

Tracy Chapman makes history at Country Music Awards

The singer-songwriter says it is "truly an honour" for her song to be recognised 35 years after its debut.

Tracy Chapman and Luke Combs
Luke Combs and Tracy Champan/ YouTube (Luke Combs, Tracy Chapman)

Singer Tracy Chapman made history this week when she became the first black songwriter to win 'Song of the Year' at the Country Music Association Awards. 

The 59-year-old won the award for her 1988 classic, 'Fast Car'. Country singer Luke Combs released his own version of the track in 2023.

His version includes the original lyrics from Tracy's song, which is how she earned a nomination. Songwriters are recognised in the 'Song of the Year' category. 

Tracy was unable to attend the awards ceremony, but a statement from the star was read out onstage. 

"It’s truly an honour for my song to be newly recognised after 35 years of its debut. Thank you to the CMAs and a special thanks to Luke and all of the fans of ‘Fast Car'," she wrote. 

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Luke also received an award for 'Fast Car'. He won 'Single of the Year' alongside Chip Matthews and Jonathan Singleton. 

The 33-year-old has previously stated that he is a huge fan of Tracy's music. He revealed that he was five years old when he heard the song for the first time. His father would play the song during their car drives together. 

Earlier this year, Luke shared a picture of the original 'Fast Car' cassette tape his dad owned. 

"Found THE cassette my dad first played Tracy Chapman’s 'Fast Car' on for me when I was a kid!" he wrote on Instagram. 

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Luke would often play the song at his concerts before releasing his version as an official single. 

He was applauded for paying homage to the original by including lyrics such as, "I work in the market as a checkout girl", when he could have easily changed it to "checkout boy". 

"Luke is a songwriter too and Tracy is one of his favourite artists. So his goal was to never change the song. His goal was to honour the perfection that it is, and changing the gender never crossed his mind," his manager, Chris Kappy, told Billboard in May.  

Tracy told the publication in a separate interview that she was happy for Luke's success with the song.

“I never expected to find myself on the country charts, but I’m honoured to be there. I’m happy for Luke and his success and grateful that new fans have found and embraced ‘Fast Car'.”

Listen to Tracy and Luke's version of 'Fast Car' below.


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Main image credit:  YouTube/ Tracy Chapman, Luke Combs ('One More Reason' music video, 'Fast Car' official live video by Luke Combs)

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