Happy birthday Tracy Chapman!
Tracy Chapman (March 30,1964) is an American singer-songwriter who broke out in 1988 with the hits "Fast Car" and "Talkin' Bout A Revolution." Her socially conscious work is widely critically acclaimed, having been listed on Rolling Stone's "The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time." Her breakout album Tracy Chapman won three Grammys. She keeps her private life private, but is active in the public sphere, performing at many events in support of human rights.
Chapman was born on March 30,1964 in Cleveland, Ohio. Her mother is said to have been very supportive of her musical inclinations, buying her a ukulele when Chapman was just three years old. She was accepted into a scholarship program aimed at sending minority students to private high schools, and went on to study at Wooster School in Connecticut and later at Tufts University.
After playing at coffee shops, she was discovered by a fellow student whose father, Charles Koppelman, was an executive at SBK Records. Koppelman helped her sign a contract with Elektra Records, with whom she would record Tracy Chapman.
"Fast Car," off the self-titled album, reached number six on the Billboard Hot 100 in August of 1988, and "Talkin' Bout a Revolution" reached number 75. Though she continued recording and selling records, her next album to achieve such success wasn't until 1995 when "Give Me One Reason" reached number three on the charts and won a Grammy for "Best Rock Song."
"Talkin 'Bout A Revolution" performed live in 1988 during her Amnesty International tour
Give Me One Reason
Chapman has always been seen as a social activist, though she has denied that is her primary role. In 1988, she performed on a worldwide tour to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights with Amnesty International. She has since performed at many benefits and political events. But in 1999, when she was criticized for not being in Seattle where activists were protesting the World Trade Organization and globalization, she responded, "Part of me says you're right, but I am a musician and a songwriter, rather than an activist. I don't have that much time."
Tracy Chapman during her 2007 performance at TED. Photos by jurvetson
In 2004, Chapman received an honorary doctorate in Fine Arts from her alma mater, Tufts University. She has been nominated and has received many awards since the start of her career, but her latest recognition came in 2010 when her album "Our Brightest Future" was nominated for a Grammy for "Best Contemporary Folk Recording."
All that You Have is Your Soul
- Birthday Date: Sunday, 30 March 2014