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Tracy Chapman performs on stage, holding her guitar

Tracy Chapman Becomes First Black Songwriter to Win Song of the Year at CMAs

Tracy Chapman has made history at the 57th annual Country Music Association Awards (CMAs).

Her hit song, ‘Fast Car’ – which she wrote on her own and released back in the late 80s  – was named Song of the Year at the awards ceremony, held in Nashville on November 8.

Now, you’re probably wondering how a song from the 80s could win a CMA in 2023, right? Well, it won after singer-songwriter Luke Combs released a cover earlier this year and it means Tracy is the first Black songwriter to win the category in the awards’ 57-year history!

Pretty cool, huh?

While she wasn’t able to attend the awards, Tracy did react to her win with a statement, read out by presenter Sarah Evans on stage:

“I’m sorry I couldn’t join you all tonight. It’s truly an honour for my song to be recognised 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.'”

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Luke’s rendition climbed to No. 2 on the US country music charts in July. Sharing a statement with Billboard at the time, Tracy said, “I never expected to find myself on the country charts, but I’m honoured to be there. I’m happy for Luke and his success and grateful that new fans have found and embraced ‘Fast Car.'”

The song also won Single of the Year at the CMAs, which was awarded to Luke. In his acceptance speech he praised Tracy’s talent:

“First and foremost, I wanna thank Tracy Chapman for writing one of the best songs of all time. I just recorded it because I loved the song so much. It’s the first favourite song that I ever had, at 4 years old.  It’s just meant so much to me in my entire life.”

‘Fast Car’ was the first single off Tracy’s self-titled debut album which went on to earn her a GRAMMY in 1989 for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance and Best New Artist. She was also nominated for Record and Song of the Year.

(Feature Image Credit: Yashoda/Getty Images)

Nehal is an award-winning news presenter, author of "A Kids Book About Kindness Online" and founder of CelebrityKind. She has dedicated her career to creating connected and healthy spaces in the media. When she's not writing, you'll find Nehal hanging with family, dancing to Beyoncé, interpreting Taylor Swift lyrics or watching old eps of Oprah.