Before her much-anticipated Grammys performance with Luke Combs, Chapman has largely stayed out of the spotlight in recent years
Following the incredible success of Luke Combs’ cover of her 1988 track "Fast Car,” the musicians shared the stage for a moving rendition of the number.
Combs first released his twangy cover of the song in April 2023, and the track raced to the top of the country music charts, as well as peaking at No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100. It also received a nomination for best country solo performance at this year's Grammys ceremony.
Chapman was just 24 years old when the song first came out as the lead single off her debut self-titled album. After performing the song at the Mandela concert at Wembley Stadium in London, it received a massive boost and helped her become a commercial success.
While Chapman has spoken highly of Combs’ version since its release, she has largely stayed out of the spotlight lately; her most recent public appearance was in 2020.
Following her Grammys performance, here’s everything to know about what Chapman has been up to in recent years.
Is Tracy Chapman married?
Ever since stepping on the music scene in the late ‘80s, Chapman has kept her personal life completely separate from her professional one.
“Being in the public eye and under the glare of the spotlight was, and it still is, to some extent, uncomfortable for me, but there are some ways by which everything that has happened in my life has prepared me for this career,” Chapman told The Irish Times in 2015. “But I am bit shy.”
Though she has been linked to various people through the years (including Alice Walker, who previously said they were in a relationship in the 1990s), Chapman has never personally commented on her relationship status and it’s unclear if she’s married.
Has Tracy Chapman released new music?
Following the success of her debut studio album in 1988, Chapman has released seven additional studio albums. Her most recent album was Our Bright Future in 2008. The album received critical acclaim, including a nomination for best contemporary folk album at the 2010 Grammys.
In promotion of the album, Chapman did a European tour from November to December 2008. Chapman later returned to Europe to tour the album again in the summer of 2009, marking her last tour to date.
When was Tracy Chapman’s last public appearance?
Though Chapman’s last album was released almost 15 years ago, she has made a handful of public appearances since then. In May 2010, she appeared alongside Bette Midler, Oprah Winfrey, Gayle King, Jennifer Hudson and more as she attended O, The Oprah Magazine’s 10th anniversary with the Live Your Best Life Walk in New York.
In December 2012, she attended the 35th Kennedy Center Honors Washington, DC, and in January 2014, she attended the Sundance Film Festival, appearing on stage during the awards night ceremony.
After spending many years out of the spotlight, she made a rare public appearance in November 2020 for a special cause. During Late Night with Seth Meyers, she performed her 1988 track “Talkin' 'Bout a Revolution,” encouraging viewers to go out and vote in the presidential election.
The 2024 Grammy Awards Feb. 4, 2024 marked Chapman’s first public appearance in three years. She joined Combs for a special duet of “Fast Car," his cover of which was nominated for Best Country Solo Performance. (Her original rendition also received three nominations, back in 1988.)
What has Tracy Chapman said about Luke Combs’ cover of her song?
Following the success of Combs’ cover of “Fast Cars,” which climbed all the way up to No. 1 on the Billboard U.S. Country Airplay chart, Chapman has offered kind words.
"I never expected to find myself on the country charts, but I’m honored to be there,” said in an exclusive statement to Billboard in July 2023. She also praised Combs, saying, “I’m happy for Luke and his success and grateful that new fans have found and embraced 'Fast Car.'"
In November 2023, Chapman spoke about the cover again as it took home song of the year at the CMA Awards, making Chapman the first Black artist to ever take home song of the year at the CMAs, according to Rolling Stone.
Although the musician wasn’t able to make it to the ceremony held at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena, she shared a pre-written statement that was read in her absence by presenter Sara Evans, who announced the win alongside country legend Bill Anderson.
“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 in the statement. “Thank you to the CMAs and a special thanks to Luke and all of the fans of ‘Fast Car.’”
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