In spring of 1988 ,Tracy Chapman released Tracy Chapman, the surprise #1 album that would revitalize the folk-rock genre & go on to win 3 Grammys. She wasn't out then & she is not really out now, but after 7 studio albums & another Grammy in 1997, she opened that closet door a crack when she has mentioned her past relationship with Alice Walker. Chapman: "I have a public life that is my work life & I have my personal life. In some ways, the decision to keep the 2 things separate relates to the work I do." But, when it most mattered the most, Chapman moved away from her policy of not giving money to political causes & in 2008, she gave money to defeat Prop 8 & discussed her decision with the media. Her 8th album was released a week after Obama was elected & Prop 8 passed by a wide margin. The album’s title: Our Bright Future.
Chapman picked up the guitar at the age of 8 years old & began to change the world one chord at a time. Her modest upbringing in a single-mother household with very little money or resources propelled Chapman to dig deep & deal with her harrowing experiences through songwriting.
She was accepted into the prestigious & private, Wooster School before attending Tufts University. She graduated in 1987 with a B.A in anthropology & African studies. Years later, in 2004, Tufts University would award Chapman with an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degree to celebrate her committed contributions to society throughout her music career.
Chapman was invited to sing her first hit off her debut album, Tracy Chapman, at the televised Nelson Mandela 70th Birthday Tribute concert in June 1988. Fast Car would bring Chapman a Grammy for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance in 1989. I know that I couldn't get the song out of my head. Chapman also was awarded Grammy Awards for: Best New Artist, Best Contemporary Folk Album for Tracy Chapman & a Grammy Award for Best Rock Song for Give Me One Reason in 1997.
While she has never chosen to publicly discuss her sexuality with the press, instead focusing on her music in interview. When the subject of their affair in the 1990’s came up in an interview with Alice Walker for The Guardian, Walker said: “Our affair was never really a secret. It was quiet to you maybe but that’s because you didn’t live in our area.” Walker has kept journals recounting her romantic relationship with Chapman & hopes to release them in the future.