Tracy Chapman just became the first Black songwriter to win CMA Song of the Year

GettyImages-1227897223-2 – Photo credit: NBC Universal/Getty

GettyImages-1227897223-2 – Photo credit: NBC Universal/Getty

The verdict on This year’s CMA Awards make it clear: the most important song and single of the year was first released 35 years ago. Luke Combs’ version of “Fast car,” which reached number two on the Hot 100 this summer and became one of the most unlikely blockbuster hits of any genre, took the top two spots CMAs of the evening, for song and single of the year.

Chapman’s Song of the Year triumph represents a long-overdue milestone: In 56 years, there had never been a Black songwriter – male or female – to win Song of the Year before Chapman took home this year’s trophy took. It’s a historic achievement for Chapman and another stark reminder of how far the awards and the industry that supports them have to go when it comes to inclusivity.

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The reclusive songwriter was not in attendance at the CMA Awards (held in Nashville at the Bridgestone Arena), but sent a prepared statement that was read by host Sara Evans. “I’m sorry I couldn’t be with you tonight,” Chapman wrote. “It is truly an honor for my song to be recognized again after 35 years of its debut. Thank you to the CMAs and a special thank you to Luke and all the Fast Car fans.”

“Fast Car” was also named Single of the Year, given to recording artist. “First and foremost, I would like to thank you Tracy Chapman “For writing one of the best songs of all time,” Combs said onstage. “I just recorded it because I loved the song. It’s the first favorite song I ever had when I was 4 years old.”

Combs’ recording of “Fast Car” was released earlier this summer Gets old album, debuted at number one on the Billboard Country Airplay chart, making Chapman the first Black woman ever to be the sole songwriter responsible for a number one country hit. As Rolling Stone wrote With this award, Chapman then joined a very small group of black women and wrote credits for a number one country song. Donna Summer co-wrote “Starting Over Again”, a number one for Dolly Parton in 1980, although Alice Randall co-wrote Trisha Yearwood’s 1994 single “XXX’s and OOO’s (An American Girl)”. generally considered to be the first. .” A full 26 years later, in 2020, songwriter Ester Dean (Rihanna, Katy Perry) had a number one spot for her song “Lady A’s”. “Champagne evening” A year later, Tayla Parx (Ariana Grande, Kesha) received the number one spot for co-writing Dan+Shays “I’m glad you exist.”

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