Best Known For
American singer-songwriter Tracy Chapman received wide fame in the late 1980s and '90s with songs like "Give Me One Reason" and "Fast Car."
Think you know about Biography?
Answer questions and see how you rank against other players.Play Now
Born in Cleveland, Ohio, on March 30, 1964, Tracy Chapman began writing music and performing in Boston, where she recorded songs at the WMFO radio station. She caught her big break in 1986, when a friend's father introduced her to a manager at Elektra Records, and soon recorded Tracy Chapman (1988). The album's most popular single, "Fast Car," landed at No. 5 on the U.K. charts and No. 6 on the U.S. charts. Several years later, Chapman released New Beginning (1995),
another widely acclaimed album, which was carried by the hit song "Give Me One Reason." Though her 1995 success has yet to be matched, Chapman stays busy as an activist, speaking and performing on behalf of various organizations.
Tracy Chapman was born in Cleveland, Ohio, on March 30, 1964, and at a young age, she moved with her family to Connecticut. While attending Tufts University in Massachusetts, studying anthropology and African studies, Chapman began writing music and performing in Boston, and recorded songs at the local WMFO radio station.
Chapman caught her big break in 1986, when a friend's father introduced her to a manager at Elektra Records—with whom she recorded her first, self-titled album, which was released in 1988. Tracy Chapman rose to No. 1 in both the United States and the United Kingdom, and its popular single, "Fast Car," landed at No. 5 on the U.K. charts and No. 6 on the U.S. charts. That same year, Chapman performed at Nelson Mandela's 70th Birthday Tribute Concert, which was held in Great Britain. The album's second single, "Talkin' 'Bout a Revolution," also met with wide acclaim, and ranked competitively on Billboard's music charts.
Chapman received several honors following the release of Tracy Chapman, including three Grammy Awards in 1989—for best new artist, best female pop vocal performer and best contemporary folk album.
Though becoming a three-time Grammy winner is quite an accomplishment for any musician's first project, Chapman didn't waste any time before working on her next one. Between performing songs from her Grammy Award–winning album, she continued to write and make rounds back to the studio to record Crossroads (1989), which she also co-produced. Chapman dedicated one song on the album, "Freedom Now," to former South African President Nelson Mandela. Though the album didn't receive the same acclaim as her first, it did find a place on Billboard's 200, as well as other industry charts.
The singer-songwriter's musical success again sloped slightly downward in 1992, with the release of Matters of the Heart, an album that peaked at No. 53 on the Billboard 200 and failed to receive any real international fame. Matters of the Heart included less memorable songs than Chapman's previous projects, and fans were put off by her straying from folk and blues to a more upbeat, alternative-rock sound. It was likely difficult for Chapman to predict, at that time, what was to come three years later, upon the release of her fourth studio album.
profile name: Tracy Chapman profile occupation:
Sign in with Facebook to see how you and your friends are connected to famous icons.
Your Friends' Connections
Included In These Groups
With simply their voices and guitars, folk singers are the unplugged artists who tell our collective stories through their songs. Their music conveys universal truths and, in turbulent times, is often a call to action in the form of protest songs. Woody Guthrie, Bob Dylan, Joan Baez and other legendary folk singers have rallied audiences around historic causes such as the Civil Rights, peace and feminist movements. Here are some of the famous folk singers who were revolutionary through their songs.
Folk Singers and Folk Revolutionaries 30 people in this group
Famous Arians 564 people in this group
They make music with instruments they were born with - their voices. Gifted vocalists have entertained audiences across musical genres from the tour de force arias of Luciano Pavarotti to the classic crooning of Frank Sinatra and Tony Bennett to the soulful vocals of artists like Aretha Franklin and Mahalia Jackson. With their powerful lyricism, singers like Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson and Bruce Springsteen became poet laureates of American music while artists including Joan Baez and Joe Strummer used their voices to prompt social change while they entertained. Rockers from Elvis Presley to The Beatles to Kurt Cobain helped define their generations through their songs while icons like Michael Jackson, Cher and Whitney Houston shaped pop culture with their larger-than-life voices and personas. See these and more famous singers who have struck a chord in musical history.
Famous Singers 774 people in this group