The outcome of this year’s Country Music Awards (CMA) decisively indicated that the most significant song and single of the year was originally released 35 years ago. Luke Combs’ rendition of Fast Car, which achieved the Number 1 spot on Billboard’s Country Airplay chart and Number 2 on the Hot 100, emerged as an unexpected chart-topping success across genres. Consequently, it secured the first two CMAs of the evening for Song and Single of the Year last Wednesday.

By Staff Reporter

The music world was recently shaken by an unprecedented event when the iconic Tracy Chapman shattered the boundaries of country music.

In a surprising twist, 35 years after her timeless hit Fast Car captivated audiences, she has accomplished something truly remarkable. Tracy Chapman has etched her name in history as the first Black songwriter to win the esteemed Country Music Association (CMA) award for Song of the Year.

In the year 1988, Chapman’s sweet melodies and gentle guitar strums filled the airwaves as her hit song Fast Car seemed to be playing everywhere.

Chapman’s victory as Song of the Year winner is a groundbreaking moment, marking the first time in 56 years that a Black songwriter, whether male or female, has claimed this prestigious award. This historic win not only celebrates Chapman’s talent but also serves as a poignant reminder of the pressing need for greater diversity and inclusion within the music industry and its associated accolades.

The incredibly gifted singer and songwriter, known for her reclusive nature, was notably absent from the CMA Awards held at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville. However, her presence was felt as presenter Sara Evans read a statement she prepared.

“I’m sorry I couldn’t join you all tonight. It’s truly an honour for my song to be newly recognised after 35 years of its debut. Thank you to the CMAs, a special thanks to Luke and all the fans of Fast Car,” Chapman’s words echoed through the room as Evans, the presenter for the category, shared her speech with the audience at the awards ceremony.

Fast Car also took home the coveted Single of the Year title, which is like the holy grail for recording artists.

“First and foremost, I want to thank Tracy Chapman for writing one of the best songs of all time. I just recorded it because I loved the song. It’s the first favourite song that I ever heard, at 4 years old,” Combs said onstage as he accepted the Single of the Year award.

At 59 years old, Chapman has put out a total of 10 albums and has been honoured with multiple awards, including four prestigious Grammy accolades.

Chapman featured Fast Car on her debut self-titled album, and the song gained widespread recognition, particularly after Chapman’s captivating rendition at a tribute celebrating Nelson Mandela’s 70th birthday.

Chapman is widely recognised for her support of numerous progressive organisations, much like a flourishing garden is renowned for its diverse and vibrant collection of flowers. Her involvement with Amnesty International shines brightly, much like a star in the night sky.

Her music explores a wide range of topics, from the complexities of love and family to the intricacies of politics, the pursuit of equality, and the brutal truths of war.

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