Tracy Chapman - "Fast Car"
In support of National Pride Month, for the entire month of June I will only post artists who Identify as somewhere on the LGBTQI Spectrum. We are loud, we are proud, and we deserve to be heard.
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.
Chapman is widely regarded as a politically and socially active musician. In a 2009 interview with American radio network NPR, she is quoted as saying: "I'm approached by lots of organizations and lots of people who want me to support their various charitable efforts in some way. And I look at those requests and I basically try to do what I can. And I have certain interests of my own, generally an interest in human rights."
This interest in human rights can be seen lyrically in her music. Songs such as 1988's "Talkin' 'Bout a Revolution" highlight the importance of speaking up against injustice: “Don't you know, talking 'bout a revolution sounds like a whisper / when they're standing in the welfare lines.”
Chapman's song "Fast Car" also brings awareness to the struggles of poverty, with lyrics such as: “I know things will get better / you'll find work and I'll get promoted / we'll move out of the shelter / buy a bigger house and live in the suburbs”
Chapman's activism extends further than her lyrics. She has performed at numerous socially aware events, and continues to do so. In 1988, she performed in London as part of a worldwide concert tour to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights with Amnesty International.The same year Chapman also performed in the Nelson Mandela 70th Birthday Tribute, an event which raised money for South Africa's Anti-Apartheid Movement and seven children's charities. More recently, in 2004 Chapman performed (and rode) in the AIDSLifeCycle event
In 2004, Chapman was given an honorary doctorate in Fine Arts by her alma mater, Tufts University, recognizing her commitment to social activism.
“I'm fortunate that I've been able to do my work and be involved in certain organizations, certain endeavors, and offered some assistance in some way. Whether that is about raising money or helping to raise awareness, just being another body to show some force and conviction for a particular idea. Finding out where the need is - and if someone thinks you're going to be helpful, then helping.”
She may be what seems like an odd pick for the list of influential artists, but her influence is one of the first african american artists to extend her struggle from just racial equality to equal human rights as well as help for those living with HIV/AIDS.
So, today, with Desperate Hope and Growing Love I choose Tracy Chapman’s “Fast Car” as my, make yourself a promise to keep, hope that every dream is a chance, be grateful for every little moment - for they are all too fleeting, song for a, it’s the smallest details that matter, it’s the hope that every time something changes - something gets better, it’s the idea that the fostering of the growth of love is as important as the love itself Wednesday.
Keep going. You're going to make it. You're doing great!