Tracy Chapman’s ‘Fast Car’ Grammys performance puts her career in spotlight

Tracy Chapman has fans clamoring for a comeback after the singer-songwriter’s electrifying performance of her hit song “Fast Car” alongside Luke Combs at the 2024 Grammy Awards last weekend.

The 66-year-old folk legend and the 33-year-old country star’s onstage collaboration earned a standing ovation from the audience at the awards ceremony and rave reviews. 

Chapman’s Grammys performance marked a rare public appearance for the singer, and social media lit up with fans expressing hopes she could make a full return to the spotlight.

“I need the tracy chapman big comeback to happen,” one X user wrote.

TRACY CHAPMAN, LUKE COMBS’ GRAMMYS PERFORMANCE OF ‘FAST CAR’ GETS STANDING OVATION

“Cool to think about the wiiiiiiiiiide range of people that’s going to show up for the long overdue Tracy Chapman comeback tour,” another fan added.

“Definitely one of the most soulful voices of our time, I hope we are lucky enough to receive some new music from #TracyChapman. 36 Years later and her voice is still just magical!” another social media user wrote.

“Tracy Chapman touches the depths of my soul,” another fan chimed in. “I loved this collaboration, I see you Luke Combs. we need new music and a tour please.”

“After the Grammys, I high key had dreams about seeing Tracy Chapman on tour,” one fan wrote on X. “Like you know how dope it’ll be to see Tracy Chapman have a comeback tour, album, etc. If she does, I’m here for it.”

After bursting onto the music scene in the late 1980s, Chapman has largely shied away from the limelight. The Ohio native last released a new album, “Our Bright Future,” in 2008. “Our Bright Future” won praise from critics and earned a nomination for best contemporary folk album at the Grammys in 2010.

Chapman embarked on a European tour in 2008 in support of “Our Bright Future.” Her latest tour to date concluded in 2009. Over the past decade, Chapman has only given a handful of public performances.

At the 2012 Kennedy Center Honors, Chapman paid tribute to honoree Buddy Guy with a performance of Big Momma Thornton’s “Hound Dog.” In 2015, she made an appearance on “The Late Show with David Letterman,” performing Ben E. King’s “Stand by Me.”

The hitmaker’s most recent public appearance was a performance in 2020 for “Late Night With Seth Meyers” ahead of the U.S. presidential election.

She sang “Talkin’ Bout a Revolution” from the “Tracy Chapman” album. Earlier that year, she performed the same song on BBC television show “Later… with Jools Holland.”

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In a 2015 interview with The Associated Press, Chapman explained why she doesn’t have social media accounts. 

“I mean, the thing is you can’t entirely escape it,” she said. “I don’t have an account, and I don’t plan to get one. But most people that I know do. And, so, in some way, you end up being a part of it because, you know, you’re in somebody’s selfie or something like that, right?

“Right there you are,” she added. “Truthfully, the record company was strongly urging me to consider it. But I feel like there’s already so much to do. You just in going through life and keeping things in order and functioning that I don’t really need to add one more.

“And here’s the other thing. I don’t have a smartphone,” Chapman added with a laugh. “I can barely keep up with my friends and people that I know in my family. It seems like it requires a lot of energy.”

During a 2015 interview with The Irish Times, Chapman reflected on her discomfort with fame.

“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. But I am a bit shy,” she explained. 

“I have this personality that is a bit on the reserved side and which had never really sought out the limelight. That has made me perhaps not the ideal person for this job.

“Of course, there are moments here and there that I would change,” she added. “But having that success — even though it was overwhelming at that time, and it would be at any time, I guess — gave me artistic freedom and the chance to keep making music that felt right for me. I’m very grateful for that; there’s no reason why I wouldn’t be.”

However, the smash success of Combs’ cover of “Fast Car” thrust Chapman’s name back into the press and on social media. Combs released the cover in 2023 after performing it for many years at his shows. The song was a huge hit, reaching No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 over the summer. 

“I never expected to find myself on the country charts, but I’m honored to be there,” Chapman said in a statement to Billboard in July 2023. 

“I’m happy for Luke and his success and grateful that new fans have found and embraced ‘Fast Car.'”

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In 2023, after Comb’s released the song, “Fast Car” won song of the year from the Country Music Association. Chapman, who became the first Black songwriter to win the award, was not present to accept, but she did issue a statement expressing her gratitude. 

“I’m sorry I couldn’t join you all tonight,” Chapman said in a statement read when she won the award. “It’s truly an honor for my song to be newly recognized 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.’”

In 1989, Chapman performed “Fast Car” at the Grammy Awards. She won three awards that night — best new artist, best female pop vocal performance and best contemporary folk recording. 

According to The New York Times, Chapman maintains a quiet life in San Francisco. She occasionally attends local events and has been spotted by residents around town. 

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Chapman has served as a patron of the city’s arts. In 2016, she was one of the judges of a high school scholarship contest sponsored by musical revue Beach Blanket Babylon, which has since closed. California State Rep. Matt Haney told The New York Times Chapman attended a local school board meeting in 2018 when he served as a member of the board. 

Haney said the singer made an appearance at the meeting to support the naming of a performing arts center in the school district after her late friend Sydney Goldstein. Goldstein founded the nonprofit organization City Arts & Lectures, which offers “unique programs with leading figures in arts and ideas,” according to its website.

“She didn’t make a big deal of being there,” Haney told the outlet. “I don’t think she even came to the mic.”

Despite fans’ demands for Chapman’s comeback, it is unknown if she has any plans to create new music or return to touring. Representatives for Chapman did not immediately respond to Fox News Digital’s request for comment regarding her future plans.

During an interview with The New York Times, Rich McLaughlin, the program director at the New York radio station WFUV, shared his thoughts on a potential musical return for Chapman.

“There’s always been demand for Tracy Chapman to return to performing,” McLaughlin said. “Whether or not it will increase the chances of her doing so, however, is difficult to predict.

“Tracy Chapman is an artist who follows her muse, not market demand,” he continued. “If she based her decision solely on demand, she’d have returned to touring years ago.”

However, Chapman appeared genuinely touched by the warm reception she received at the Grammys and flashed a wide smile when the audience cheered and gave her a standing ovation. She also seemed to enjoy performing with Combs.