Tracy Chapman’s ‘Fast Car’ makes history at the CMA Awards

Fast Car

Tracy Chapman’s 1988 hit ‘Fast Car’ has won the Song of the Year award at the 57th Country Music Association Awards, 35 years after its original release. The award, which honors the songwriter of the best country song of the year, was presented to Chapman on Wednesday night at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena. Chapman is the first Black songwriter, male or female, to win this award in the history of the CMA Awards.

Fast Car

How ‘Fast Car’ became a country hit?

‘Fast Car’ was the first single from Chapman’s self-titled debut album, which earned her four Grammy Awards in 1989, including Best New Artist and best contemporary folk album. The song, which tells the story of a young woman who dreams of escaping poverty and finding a better life, reached No. 6 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and became a classic of the folk-rock genre.

However, the song did not have much impact on the country charts until 2022, when country star Luke Combs released a cover version of the song. Combs, who is a fan of Chapman and her music, performed the song live at several concerts and recorded a studio version for his deluxe album ‘What You See Ain’t Always What You Get’. Combs’ cover of ‘Fast Car’ went on to reach No. 1 on the Country Airplay chart in July 2023, making Chapman the first Black woman to top the chart since it was launched in 1990. Chapman also reached No. 1 on the Billboard Country Songwriters chart, thanks to Combs’ cover.

Chapman’s reaction to the CMA win

Chapman, who is known for being a private and reclusive artist, did not attend the CMA Awards ceremony but sent a message that was read by country singer and presenter Sara Evans. Chapman expressed her gratitude to the CMA, Combs, and the fans of ‘Fast Car’ for the recognition.

“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. Wow. Thank you to the CMAs and a special thanks to Luke (Combs) and to all of the fans of ‘Fast Car’,” Chapman said.

Chapman had previously told Billboard in a statement that she was surprised and honored to find herself on the country charts and that she was happy for Combs and his success.

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

Combs’ acceptance speech for Single of the Year

Combs, who also won the Single of the Year award for his cover of ‘Fast Car’, thanked Chapman for writing such a timeless and powerful song, and dedicated the award to her.

“This is one of the coolest things that has ever happened to me in my life. I want to thank Tracy Chapman for writing this song. I don’t know if she’s watching, but I hope she is. This song changed my life, and I hope it changed yours too. This award is for her because she deserves it more than anybody,” Combs said.

Combs also thanked his fans, his team, his wife, and his fellow nominees for their support and friendship.

Other highlights from the CMA Awards

The CMA Awards, which are considered the biggest night in country music, were hosted by country singer Luke Bryan and former football player Peyton Manning. The show featured performances by some of the biggest names in the genre, such as Carrie Underwood, Miranda Lambert, Eric Church, Jason Aldean, and Dierks Bentley.

Some of the other winners of the night were:

  • Entertainer of the Year: Luke Bryan
  • Album of the year: ‘Starting Over’ by Chris Stapleton
  • Male vocalist of the year: Chris Stapleton
  • Female vocalist of the year: Carrie Underwood
  • Vocal group of the year: Old Dominion
  • Vocal duo of the year: Dan + Shay
  • New artist of the year: Gabby Barrett
  • Musical event of the year: ‘Half of My Hometown’ by Kelsea Ballerini and Kenny Chesney
  • Music video of the year: ‘Forever After All’ by Luke Combs
  • Musician of the year: Jenee Fleenor
By Kane Wilson

Kane Wilson, founder of this news website, is a seasoned news editor renowned for his analytical skills and meticulous approach to storytelling. His journey in journalism began as a local reporter, and he quickly climbed the ranks due to his talent for unearthing compelling stories. Kane completed his Master’s degree in Media Studies from Northwestern University and spent several years in broadcast journalism prior to co-founding this platform. His dedication to delivering unbiased news and ability to present complex issues in an easily digestible format make him an influential voice in the industry.

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