Tracy Chapman Awarded Top CMA Songwriter Prize, First Black Artist to Win


Tracy Chapman Awarded Top CMA Songwriter Prize, First Black Artist to Win
© Bryan Bedder/Getty Images

In a groundbreaking moment at the 2023 Country Music Association (CMA) Awards, legendary singer-songwriter Tracy Chapman etched her name in history as the first Black artist to clinch the Song of the Year award. The award, a significant accolade in the country music realm, was bestowed upon her for the 1988 timeless classic 'Fast Car'

This recognition, coming 35 years after the song's initial release, marks a milestone in the CMA Awards history. Chapman's 'Fast Car', a song that resonates across generations, saw a resurgence on the country charts, propelled by a cover from country music's luminary, Luke Combs.

This remarkable feat added a new dimension to the song's legacy, showcasing its enduring appeal. At the prestigious event held at Nashville's Bridgestone Arena, Chapman, in her absence, conveyed her heartfelt sentiments through a statement.

She expressed regret for not being able to attend and extended her gratitude for the renewed recognition of 'Fast Car' Chapman acknowledged the CMAs, Luke Combs, and the song's dedicated fanbase for this honor.

Combs thanked Tracy Chapman as he picked up his award© ason Kempin/Getty Images

Luke Combs, aged 33, who played a pivotal role in reintroducing 'Fast Car' to a new audience, won the Single of the Year for his rendition.

Combs, in his acceptance speech, paid homage to Chapman for crafting such an iconic song, which held a special place in his heart since childhood. The night also belonged to Lainey Wilson, who emerged as a dominant force, sweeping away five awards.

Wilson, a renowned figure in the 'Yellowstone' series, was honored with the most prestigious award of the night, Entertainer of the Year. Her album 'Bell Bottom Country' won Album of the Year, further cementing her status in the industry.

She also took home the Female Vocalist of the Year award, along with accolades for Music Video and Musical Event of the Year for 'Wait in the Truck', her collaboration with HARDY. The event was also a showcase of stellar performances.

Jelly Roll, joined by Wynonna Judd, delivered an unforgettable duet with 'Need A Favor' A tribute to the late Joe Diffie was rendered by Post Malone, Morgan Wallen, and HARDY, reimagining Diffie's 1994 hit 'Pickup Man' The stage also saw performances from Dan + Shay, Kelsea Ballerini, Kenny Chesney, and the Zac Brown Band, among others.

Hosted by Luke Bryan and Peyton Manning for the second consecutive year, the CMA Awards celebrated the best in country music, acknowledging both the enduring classics and the new chartbusters. This year's event not only recognized the current talents but also paid tribute to the timeless contributions of artists like Tracy Chapman, whose work continues to inspire and influence the music industry.