Tracy Chapman Surprises at the Grammys

After Miley Cyrus won her first Grammy at Sunday night’s awards ceremony, Luke Combs took the stage to perform his cover of “Fast Car” with a very special guest: Tracy Chapman, who wrote and originally performed the song, in 1988. Chapman, whose appearance at the show had been rumored, started out the performance, and the crowd provided hefty applause. Their performance was a full-circle moment for the two singers, who performed the song for the first time ever on the Grammys stage.

At the 2024 Grammys, Combs was nominated for Best Country Solo Performance for his cover, which helped the song see a resurgence in popular culture and even hit some historic milestones for Chapman. Combs’ version was released in April 2023, and within three months, it was certified platinum. In November 2023, the country singer won two Country Music Awards, for single and song of the year. This made Chapman the first Black woman to win in the Song of the Year category. It also peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Chapman has previously spoken about her enthusiasm for Combs’ cover of the song. After the song reached No. 1 on Billboard’s Country Songwriters chart, Chapman said in a statement to Billboard, “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.’”

Tracy Chapman Surprises at the Grammys

The song was Chapman’s lead single off her debut self-titled album, which she released in 1988. The following year, Chapman received three Grammy nominations: Record of the Year, Song of the Year, and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance, taking home the award for the latter. That same year, she won Best New Artist and Best Contemporary Folk Album.

While the performance got a standing ovation in the room, praise online was similarly enthusiastic, especially for Chapman. Some brimmed with nostalgia, others praised her still-clear voice, and some took the opportunity to point to the frequent erasure of Black queer women in the music industry.

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