Tag Archives: Tracy Chapman

Tracy Chapman restarts


Following a wrenchingly poor childhood and a hard-won scholarship, Tracy Chapman was hit by stardom right after graduating from college, when her 1988 self-titled debut album sold 10 million copies.

She had only recently overcome her fear of playing for coffeehouse-sized audiences, and suddenly the machinery of celebrity was bolted around her. Despite her success, she recalled in 2000 that “they weren’t particularly happy times.”

Periods of seclusion followed, but in 1995 she restarted her career on her own terms. “You have to pay attention to the moment and make it the best it can be for you,” she said. “Make it count. I’ve been trying to do that. It’s really made a major difference for me—I’m a happier person.”

This according to “Telling her stories” by Christopher John Farley (Time CLV/8 [28 February 2000] p. 92).

Today is Chapman’s 50th birthday! Above, the singer-songwriter in Bruges in 2009; below, performing one of the songs from her debut album at the Nelson Mandela 70th Birthday Tribute in 1988, effectively jump-starting the first leg of her career.

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Filed under Popular music