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Tracy Chapman Becomes First Black Songwriter to Win Song of the Year at Country Music Awards

Tracy Chapman’s immortal 1988 folk ballad “Fast Car” earned win at the Country Music Awards in what appeared to be a crowning moment for the music legend.

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The song, which was revived by Luke Combs’ successful remake, earned Chapman Song of the Year accolades, while Combs received Single of the Year honors.

The evening recognized music’s ongoing potential to cross decades and genres, demonstrating the wonder of a classic resonating with a new audience.

According to Rolling Stone Magazine, Chapman’s triumph at the Country Music Awards makes her the first black songwriter to receive the prestigious Song of the Year honor.

Despite not being present at the ceremony in Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena, the 59-year-old conveyed her appreciation to country music fans and Combs in a statement read on stage by presenter Sara Evans.

“It’s truly an honor for my song to be newly recognized after 35 years of its debut,” Chapman’s statement said. “Thank you to the CMAs and a special thanks to Luke and all of the fans of ‘Fast Car,” the statement added.

Combs thanked Chapman for writing one of the best songs of all time during his acceptance speech for Single of the Year. The 33-year-old North Carolina musician discussed his personal connection to the song, saying it has been significant in his life since he was four years old.

According to NBC DFW, he revealed that it has been one of his favorite songs since he was a child and that he was seeking for an opportunity to resuscitate the timeless melody.

After its release earlier this summer, Combs’ performance of “Fast Car” soared to stardom, topping both the country and Top 40 Billboard charts. Chapman became the first Black female songwriter to have a No. 1 country hit as a result of this.

In an interview with Billboard, Chapman expressed gratitude to new fans for adopting “Fast Car” and expressed satisfaction for Combs and the song’s continuous success.

Combs’ cover of Chapman’s “Fast Car” garnered both praise and criticism. While many praised the rebirth of Chapman’s work, some argued that a Black, queer woman would not have had the same success in country music with the song as Combs did.

The debate over the cover highlighted the intricacies and obstacles that musicians from various backgrounds experience in the music industry.


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