Tracy Chapman delighted Grammys crowd with a surprise performance of lesbian anthem ‘Fast Car’

Tracy Chapman performs Fast Car at the 66th GRAMMY Awards at Arena

The legendary Tracy Chapman treated the Grammys crowd to a rare performance of the timeless hit “Fast Car”.

The American singer-songwriter graced the 66th Grammy Awards stage on Sunday (4 February) for her first public performance in numerous years. 

Chapman sang alongside country artist Luke Combs, whose “Fast Car” 2023 cover had Chapman’s track re-entering the charts after its release decades ago.

Their performance was met, understandably, with thunderous applause from the audience that included Grammy winners Taylor Swift, Beyoncé, and boygenius.

Who is Tracy Chapman?

Singer Tracy Chapman Performs in Torino, Italy, Sept 1988. Amnesty International tour.
Singer Tracy Chapman Performs in Torino, Italy, Sept 1988. Amnesty International tour. (Photo by Armando Gallo/Getty Images)

Tracy Chapman is a 59-year-old folk singer who first rose to prominence in 1988 with her debut, self-titled album. 

The album won Chapman Best New Artist and Best Contemporary Folk Album at the 1989 Grammys.

You may like to watch

The album’s second track, “Fast Car” won her Best Female Pop Vocal Performance at the awards show.

Alongside her music, Chapman has long worked in areas of social activism. Notably, she performed a tribute concert to honour South African leader Nelson Mandela’s 70th birthday.

She was given an honorary doctorate at Tufts University for her commitment to social activism.

Why ‘Fast Car’ is a lesbian anthem?

In the late ‘80s, the resonance of “Fast Car” was monumental. The song quickly became a queer hit, especially amongst lesbians.

Its identity as a lesbian anthem derives from the track’s lyricism about escapism and craving a better life. 

The couple that is trying to escape in Chapman’s song are also genderless. Within that lyrical freedom, many queer people identified with the hopeful desire to leave home to flourish into one’s true self.

Though Chapman has never outrightly stated that “Fast Car” has a lesbian meaning, the queer subtext now attached to the song is undeniable. 

Is Tracy Chapman a lesbian?

Chapman has never spoken publicly about her sexual orientation, however, others have made comments about her identity. 

Ultimately though, the singer-songwriter has maintained a separation between her public and private life.

The Color Purple author Alice Walker has stated that she and Chapman had a romantic relationship in the 1990s.

The Color Purple author Alice Walker
The Color Purple author Alice Walker attends the The Color Purple Broadway Opening Night at The Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre on December 10, 2015 in New York City. (Mark Sagliocco/Getty Images)

Walker said Chapman was one of her “great loves,” in an interview with Gayle King on CBS Mornings in 2006. 

Walker told King that she was drawn to the singer because of her voice: “You know, there are some voices in our culture that can carry the whole culture and really make an emotional sense of it and liberate you into a deep love of that.”

Is Tracy Chapman a lesbian? That is something personal and private to her, but all lesbians will forever be grateful to her for providing us with such a powerful escapist anthem in Fast Car.

You can read more of our Grammys 2024 content here.

Please login or register to comment on this story.