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30 years for singer Tracy Chapman

30 years for singer Tracy Chapman

Aged 52, “Black Dylan” (as a reference to Bob Dylan for her style) is discrete since her last compilation released in 2015. What is she preparing for us in the upcoming years?


Peak of her career

With only 8 albums and 2 compilations released, Tracy Chapman has already sold more than 40 million copies worldwide. From her first album that Tracy Chapman released on 5 April 1988, her success has been resounding. She received 2 Grammy Awards for the album and 1 for her song Fast Car in 1989. Moreover, for this first work, she got 6 times the platinum disc in the United States, gold disc in France and Germany. This song is ranked 167th among the greatest songs of all time by the Rolling Stone magazine, between Queen’s Bohemian Rhaspody and Marvin Gaye’s Let’s Get It On.

Even if her second album proved successful, the third one will not be remembered but nevertheless got a gold disc. However, her 2001 first compilation did not receive any gold or platinum disc.

At the beginning of her career, she was called twice for concerts in support of Nelson Mandela. The first times, on 2 September and 15 October 1988, she sang alongside Sting and Youssou N’Dour. The second time in April 1990, she sang Freedom Now.


A true artist

While studying at Tufts University, she performed small concerts in bars and in the streets. Being noticed, she joined SBK Publishing and then Elektra Records in 1987 when graduating. Artists Cat Stevens and Joan Baez were part of this label at that time. In this label, she is celebrating a 30-year-long career.

It was her particular voice that led the labels to hire her. Indeed, her alto voice gave her songs a warm character. Moreover, this is strengthened by the rhythm of the words and the harmony of the arpeggios and chords. Tracy Chapman’s guitar leading the dance cannot but be noticed.

The melodies composed at the guitar recall, in a way those of Cat Stevens, and her voice recalls that of Gospel.

What is good about her, too, is her simplicity, this humility during her concerts. Nothing is overdone, everything is natural. People are only there to listen and not to admire tricks.

Like many other singers who record as many albums as possible each year to reach out to the best audience, Chapman privileges quality. Her lyrics are deeper and more thoughtful. The music is captivating and natural: it is the music that comes from the heart, the spirit. One feels perfectly that it seeks neither money nor notoriety but sincerity.

Releasing on average an album every 3-4 years, the singer takes her time to write and compose. Even though her last album was released in 2008, don’t you think that she will come back stronger very soon? As David Bowie did a few years ago, she released a compilation in 2015 including her main hits.

Could it be the announcement of an imminent return to the stage? Surprise!


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