Tracy Chapman’s Biography, from her birth to nowadays…


There’s no official Tracy Chapman biography other than the press releases that the record company would publish when each new Tracy Chapman album release. This biography is then the only one you’d found on the internet with lots of facts and dates :

[ 1964 ]

  • March, 30 – Tracy Chapman’s birth in Cleveland, Ohio.

[ 1982 ]

  • Tracy graduates from Wooster school, Danbury, CT, and goes on to study at Tufts University, Medford, MA, where she majors in anthropology and African studies in 1986.

[ 1986 ]

  • Tracy joins an African drum ensemble at College, but develops her own folk guitar playing and performs self-written acoustic songs on the Boston folk circuit. She records demos at Tufts campus radio station, WMFO.
  • Fellow student Brian Koppelman recommends her to his father, Charles, president of SBK publishing, who in turn introduces her to producer David Kershenbaum and also to Elektra Records where she links up with manager, Elliot Roberts.
  • Tracy records For My Lover for the local paper Fast Folk Musical Magazine, a Boston Folk magazine sold with a record.

[ 1987 ]

  • She records her debut album for Elektra with David Kershenbaum producing, after several other producers turn her down.

[ 1988 ]

  • March – Tracy performs 3 nights at the Donmar Warehouse in London, UK sharing a bill with Natalie Merchant from 10,000 Maniacs.
  • April, 05 – Debut album’s release.
  • April 06 – Fast Car release a single
  • May – She plays 2 nights at the Bitter End Club in New York.
  • Tracy tours the US and plays some selected UK dates supporting labelmates, 10,000 Maniacs.
  • June, 11 – She appears at the televised Nelson Mandela’s 70th Birthday Tribute Concert at Wembley Stadium, Wembley, UK. Her appearance results in Tracy Chapman selling 12,000 copies 2 days later.
  • July, 2 – Tracy Chapman tops the UK chart, while the extracted Fast Car drives to UK #5.
  • August, 27 – Tracy Chapman also tops the US survey, as Fast Car hits US #6.
  • September 2 – Together with Peter Gabriel, Bruce Springsteen, Sting and Youssou N’Dour, Tracy performs at the start of a six week Human Rights Now! World tour for Amnesty International. The superstar trek will end October, 15 in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
  • October, 10 – Talkin’Bout A Revolution peaks at US #75.
  • December, 04 – Tracy performs at Bridge School Concert Benefit II at Oakland Coliseum, Oakland, CA.
  • December, 24 – Baby Can I Hold You makes US #48.

[ 1989 ]

  • January, 27 – Tracy is the winner of BAM’s 1988 Critics Poll (LA’s Music magazine)
  • January, 30 – Tracy wins the Favorite New Artists Pop/Rock category at the 26th annual American Music Awards, held at the Shrine Auditorium, LA., CA.
  • February, 13 – Tracy is named Best International New Comer at the eight annual BRIT Awards et London Royal Albert Hall [22]. She wins Best Pop Vocal Performance, Female for Fast Car, Best Contemporary Folk Recording for Tracy Chapman and Best New Artist at the 31st Annual Grammy Awards.
  • April, 25 – Tracy collects Female Vocalist, Top Song (Talkin’Bout A Revolution) and Rock Album (Tracy Chapman) at the third SKC Boston Music Awards, at the Wang Center, Boston, MA.
  • May – She participates in an AIDS benefit concert at the Oakland Alameda County Coliseum, Oakland CA.
  • September – Crossroads peaks at UK #61.
  • October, 03 – Crossroads release. Co-produced by Chapman and Kershenbaum and featuring musical guests Marc Cohn and Neil Young among others her sophomore effort Crossroads tops the UK chart.
  • October – Tracy moves from Boston, Massachusetts to San Francisco, California just two weeks before Loma Prieta, the 1989 San Francisco earthquake and ironically says “There’s no chance I’m moving somewhere with earthquakes.”
  • October, 28 – Tracy performs at Bridge School Concert Benefit III at Shoreline Amphitheatre.
  • November – Crossroads was certified platinum.
  • November, 4 – Crossroads stales at US #90 as Crossroads hits US #2.

[ 1990 ]

  • March, 30 – The three winners of Crossroads in Black History, a high-school essay contest and education program initiated by Tracy receive scholarships.
  • April, 16 – Tracy performs at the Nelson Mandela : An International Tribute For A Free South Africa Concert at Wembley Stadium, Wembley.
  • May, 18 – Tracy embarks on a major summer tour of the US at the Starplex Amphitheater, Dallas, TX set to end on July, 7.
  • June, 21 – She sings Born To Fight and Freedom Now at a rally for Nelson Mandela at New York’s Yankee Stadium, before a sellout crowd of 53,000.
  • November, 3 – Tracy takes part in a CBS TV Motown 30 : What’s Goin’On special and sings A Change Is Gonna Come.

[ 1991 ]

  • January, 16 – Tracy inducts the Impressions into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame at its annual dinner at New York’s Waldorf Astoria Hotel.
  • January, 21 – She plays at a Martin Luther King celebration at the Guthrie Theatre, Minneapolis, MN.
  • November, 02 – Tracy performs at Bridge School Concert Benefit V.

[ 1992 ]

  • March, 14 – Tracy performs at Farm Aid V at the Texas Stadium Irving, TX, with Living Colour’s Vernon Reid supporting.
  • April, 16 – Bang Bang Bang [single]release.
  • April, 28 – Matters of the Heart release.
  • May, 9 – Matters Of The Heart debuts at its UK #19 peak.
  • May, 21 – True Stories : Too White For Me a behind-the-scene look at a Chapman concert in Johannesburg, South Africa, airs on C4-TV.
  • May, 23 – Matters Of The Heart makes US #53. June, 17 Tracy guests on NBC-TV’s The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.
  • June, 25 – Dreaming On A World [single]release.
  • June, 28 – She headlines the ANC 80th anniversary celebration at London’s Brixton Academy, during current European tour.
  • August, 7 – She is showcased on ABC-TV’s In Concert series.
  • September, 20 – Tracy performs at the Greek Theater, LA, CA during her round of US dates.
  • October, 16 – She sings The Times They Are A Changin‘ at the Bob Dylan 30th Anniversary Celebration held at New York’s Madison Square Garden.
  • November, 18 –  “Malcolm X” by Spike Lee release. The film was saved by the financial intervention of Tracy Chapman, Oprah Winfrey, Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Janet Jackson, Prince, Bill Cosby and Peggy Cooper Cafritz, founder of the Duke Ellington School of the Arts.

[ 1993 ]

  • May, 27 – Fast Car [single]second release.
  • August, 24 – Bob Dylan 30th Anniversary Concert Celebration CD release.

[ 1994 ]

  • August – Tracy auditions members of her touring and studio band : Andy Stoller (bass), Rock Deadrick (drums) and Glenys Rodgers (percussions) are joining her to form her band.

[ 1995 ]

  • Summer – Tracy is touring in the US to test her new songs in front of her loyal fans.
  • November, 14 – New Beginning release.
  • November, 29 – Tracy chats online with her fans on New York Online.
  • November, 29 – She performs Give Me On Reason to the Late Show with David Letterman (CBS).

[ 1996 ]

  • February, 26 – Give Me One Reason is currently #1 on HITS Magazine’s Adult Post Modern chart for its sixth week.
  • March, 14 – Tracy begins the third leg of her New Beginning US tour in Minneapolis, Minn.
  • Summer – The Charlie Hunter Quartet opens for Tracy on many dates on the US tour.
  • July, 16 – Tracy is the guest of Jay Leno (NBC).
  • August – New Beginning is certified multi-platinum with over 3 million sales by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). New Beginning, peaked at No. 4 on The Billboard 200 and spent 95 weeks on the chart. the hit single Give Me One Reason, which spent five weeks at No. 3 on The Billboard Hot 100. Ultimately, it stayed on the chart for 39 weeks. And her debut is also album certified 4x platinum.
  • September, 24 – New Beginning [single]release.
  • November, 19 – Smoke and Ashes [single]release.
  • December, 7 – Nominations for the 39th annual Grammy Awards are announced in New York. Tracy is nominated for the Record of the Year with Give Me One Reason, Best Female Rock Vocal Performance with Give Me One Reason and Best Pop Album with New Beginning.

[ 1997 ]

  • February, 11 – 1997 Grammy Nominees release February, 26 – Tracy wins her fourth Grammy Awards for the Record of the Year with Give Me One Reason.
  • March, 16 – Tracy wins 4 Bammies at 20th Annual Bay Area Music Awards in San Francisco : she wins for Best Album, Outstanding Song for Give Me One Reason, Best Female Vocalist and Musician of the Year.
  • July – Tracy participates in the first edition of Lilith Fair festival organised by Sarah Mclachlan. She lines up with Suzanne Vega, Sheryl Crow, Jewel, Paula Cole, Fiona Apple…
  • August, 21 – Tracy is the musical guest on New York Undercover on Fox TV-14.
  • September, 23 – A Very Special Christmas 3 release. Tracy sings O Holy Night . [She] listened to countless Christmas tapes before deciding to record a moving cover of “O Holy Night” which she produced, arranged and cut in a single day.
  • November, 6 – B.B. King releases Deuces Wild, an album composed of only with duets with famous artists. Tracy sings “The Thrill Is Gone” (track 2). The single is a hit.
  • November, 18 – The Bridge School Concerts Vol 1. release : “All that you have is your soul” performed by Tracy at the second edition of the festival in 1988 appears on track 3.

[ 1998 ]

  • December, 10 – Paris concert for Amnesty International : The Struggle Continues is given in Paris, France. Tracy opens with her Human Rights Now tour ! friends [Bruce Springsteen, Peter Gabriel & Youssou N’Dour] with “Get Up Stand Up”, sang 6 of her songs and finished with “Seven Seconds” accompanied with Youssou N’Dour, Peter Gabriel and Jocelyn Berouard from Kassav’.
  • December, 17 – Tracy performs a private White House concert in celebration of the Special Olympics 30th anniversary, A Very Special Christmas From Washington, D.C with Eric Clapton, Sheryl Crow, John Popper, Mary J. Blige and others. She performs her rendition of “O Holy Night” and pairs up with Eric Clapton for “Give Me One Reason”.

[ 1999 ]

  • June, 13 – Tracy participates in the Tibetan Freedom Concert held in Chicago, Amsterdam, Tokyo, and Sydney in the same time. Tracy played at Alpine Valley Music Theater in Chicago.
  • June, 15 – Paris Concert For Amnesty International : the Struggle Continues release on DVD and VHS.
  • October, 19 – A Very Special Christmas Live release with her live version of “O Holy Night” and a “Give Me One Reason” live duet with Eric Clapton.
  • December, 4 – Tracy performs at the One love Bob Marley All Star Tribute in Oracabessa Jamaica. She sings “Three Little Birds” (solo), “Trenchtown Rock” (in duet with Ziggy & Stephen Marley) and lines up with all the artists to sing “One Love”.
  • December, 22 – Elektra, her record company, sends the set’s first single Telling Stories, the title track, to triple-A radio.

[ 2000 ]

  • January, 28 – Two songs from the album are made available for preview at
  • February, 8 – Top 40 radio gets Telling Stories [single].
  • February, 15 – Telling Stories release.
  • February, 15 – Tracy performs at the Late Show With David Letterman (CBS).
  • February, 16 – Tracy performs at The Rosie O’Donnell Show (NBC).
  • February, 18 – Tracy performs at Good Morning America (ABC).
  • February, 19 – The single Telling Stories moves to No. 1 on the Triple-A chart, published in Billboard’s sister publication Rock Airplay Monitor.
  • March, 28 – Tracy Chapman embarks on her Telling Stories tour set to end on Sept ,23 in Boston, Mass at the Mixfest Festival.
  • Early May – While she’s on tour in Europe,Tracy performs “Telling Stories”, “Behind The Wall” and “Speak The Word” on BBC in the 104th show Later with Jools Holland (BBC).
  • May, 30 – One Love Bob Marley All Star Tribute release on DVD and video.
  • May – Telling Stories is certified gold.
  • June, 06 – Tracy participates in the Pavarotti & Friends Concert For Cambodia and Tibet in Modena, Italy. She performs “Baby Can I Hold You” in duet with Luciano Pavarotti and “Telling Stories” with her band. She lines up with all the artists to sing “All We Need Is Love”.
  • July, 05 – Tracy is the musical guest of The Late Show With David Letterman (CBS).
  • October, 17 – A tribute to Tracy Chapman release.

[ 2001 ]

  • February, 12 – Tracy picked up a nomination for Outstanding Female Vocalist at the 24th Annual California Music Awards.
  • April, 28 – Tracy is Carlos Santana presenter at the California Music Awards 2001 where she’s nominated for the Outstanding Female Vocalist.
  • May, 19 – Tracy sings “Gotta Serve Somebody” at a benefit birthday tribute to Bob Dylan in New York for PEN American Center, a group of 2,600 poets, playwrites, editors, essayists, translators and novelists whose mission is to advance the cause of literature and reading.
  • September, 17 – Collection release in Europe and Asia.
  • October, 20 & 21 – Tracy participates in the XV Bridge Benefit Concert in Mountain View, CA.

[ 2002 ]

  • August, 25 – AOL offers Tracy Chapman’s Worldwide Premiere of ‘You’re the One’, the first single from the album ‘Let It Rain’.
  • September, 27 – A very private meeting organized by RTL2 allow 1O fans to listen to Let It Rain before its release, attend the interview by Zegut and finally meet Tracy Chapman.
  • October, 15 – Release of Let It Rain, 6th album studio for Tracy Chapman.
  • October, 15 – Tracy Chapman performs “You’re The One” on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno (NBC)
  • October, 21 – Tracy Chapman performs “You’re The One” on Good Morning America (ABC)
  • October, 22 – Tracy Chapman performs “You’re The One” on Last Call with Carson Daly (NBC)
  • November, 02 – Tracy Chapman records the Music Planet 2nite show for French /german TV channel Arte in Berlin at the Traenenpalast venue, she performs “Baby Can I Hold You”, “You’re The One”, “Mountains O things”, “Telling Stories”, “Another Sun”, “Give Me One Reason”, “Almost”, “Talkin Bout A Revolution”, “I Am Yours” and “Get Up Stand Up”.
  • November, 17 – Tracy Chapman performs “You’re The One”, “I Am Yours” and “Talkin’Bout a Revolution” on Later with Jools Holland (BBC)

[ 2003 ]

  • January, 25 – The French radio show Saga on RTL is dedicated to Tracy Chapman.
  • January, 31 – Launch of the Let It Rain European tour under the snow in Roubaix, France : This tour visits 11 countries for 32 shows. Openers are the Senegalese folk band Pape & Cheikh.
  • February, 11 – Release of the Let It Rain special edition in Europe, a 2CD set with the regular Let It Rain CD and a bonus live CD including 5 tracks from the gig at the Traenenpalast in Berlin.
  • February, 23 – Release of Another Sun as the second single from Let It Rain.
  • April, 20 – Tracy took part to the We The Planet 2003 Festival at the Golden Gate Park in San Francisco as a surprised guest, she sang “Angel From Montgomery” in duet with Bonnie Raitt.
  • June, 7 – Launch of the Let It Rain US tour under a hot summer sun in Redmond, WA : This tour visits 24 states for 37 shows. Openers are Eastmountainsouth and Joseph Arthur.
  • August, 3 – To end the Let It Rain US tour, Tracy & band are taping the famous Austin City Limits (PBS) show in Austin, performing “Say Hallelujah”, “For My Lover”, “Smoke and Ashes”, “Baby Can I Hold You”, “Fast Car”, “Another Sun”, “Telling Stories”, “You’re the One”, “Talkin’ Bout A Revolution”, “Give Me One Reason” & “I Am Yours”.
  • Sept, 23 – Tracy embarks on the We The Planet fall tour for 5 30-minutes acoustic concerts.

[ 2004 ]

  • March, 14 – To support Maitri, a nonprofit organization called that provides Residential Care for People Living with AIDS in the SF/Bay-Area, Tracy gives a performance.
  • May, 3 – Tracy gives a secret show at the MakeOut venue in San Francisco where she performs somes of her classics and some orginal covers such as “Come As You Are” (Nirvana), “Love Song” (The Cure) and “I Could Never Take the Place of Your Man” (Prince).
  • May, 23 – Tracy receives an honorary doctorate of fine arts at Tufts University, Boston, MA where she graduated in 1986.
  • June, 6 – Tracy Chapman participated in the third AIDS/Life Cycle ride: from San Francisco to Los Angeles riders in order to raise more than $4.9 million in support of the San Francisco AIDS Foundation and the HIV services of the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center.
  • June, 21 – Tracy is participating to Sing The Truth … A Night/Tribute For Nina at JVC Jazz Festival New York. She sang “Wild Is the Wind” solo and “Four Women” at the end of the tribute with Simone the younger, Odetta and Lizz Wright.
  • July, 11 – Tracy and Oumou Sangare are part of the Global Divas V, KCRW’s World Festival at the Hollywood Bowl, Los Angeles, CA.
  • September, 24 – Tracy Chapman embarks on a 5-date concert tour to benefit, a grassroots organization committed to reclaiming American democracy by ensuring that Democrats in swing states vote. The tour will kick off September 24th.
  • October, 8 – Tracy Chapman plays in Orlando, FL at the TD Waterhouse Centre with Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band, R.E.M. and John Fogerty as part of the Vote For Change tour.
  • November, 17 – Tracy Chapman attends the annual American Foundation for Aids Research San Francisco fall dinner at the Ritz Carlton in San Francisco, CA.

[ 2005 ]

  • June, 8 – Silverlake Conservatory of Music, “Hullabaloo.”, the school founded by Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers holds a benefit concert with Tracy Chapman, Charlie Haden, John Frusciante, Grant Lee Philips, The Section Quartet, and Flea himself.
  • July, 11 – The new single Change is impacting the radio in the US.
  • August, 03 – Starbucks is releasing a compilation “Hear Music XM Radio Sessions, Vol. 1” which includes a Tracy Chapman cover of the Ben E. King classic “Stand by Me” recorded acoustic with Joe Gore and Quinn. The CD also contains acoustic versions of Baby Can I Hold You and Give Me One Reason.
  • September, 13 – Release of Where You Live, Tracy Chapman’s 7th studio album.
  • September, 13 – Tracy Chapman is Jay Leno’s guest on the Tonight Show (NBC), she sings “Change”.
  • September, 14 – Tracy Chapman is interviewed and sings Change at the The Tavis Smiley Show (PBS)
  • September, 14 – Tracy Chapman is part of the YouthAIDS Annual Benefit Gala in Washington DC.
  • September, 15 – Tracy Chapman is the guest of XM’s Artist Confidential™ show, she talks through her with career with George Taylor Morris, and performs live “Another Sun”, “Change”, “Fast Car” & “Talk To You”.
  • September, 20 – Tracy performs “Change” on Rockefeller Plaza that became ‘Humanity Plaza’ as homes for families affected by Hurricane Katrina were literally built around the clock
  • September, 24 – The New Yorker Festival is featuring an interesting event: Tracy Chapman talks with Dana Goodyear: A Conversation with Music Songs of love and social justice.
  • September, 27 – Release of Buddy Guy’s duet album, Bring ’em in that includes a duet with Tracy Chapman: “Ain’t No Sunshine”.
  • October, 05 – Launch of the Where You Live US tour in Seattle: this tour visits 8 states for 12 shows. Opener is Ben Taylor.
  • October, 11 – Tracy is interviewed and plays live at the Morning Becomes Eclectic radio show in KCRW.
  • November, 09 – “America” is the second single of Where You Live.
  • November, 03 – Tracy & band embark on the Where You Live European  tour: this tour visits 9 countries for 28 show. Openers are Ben Taylor, Cherif Mbaw and Amadou & Mariam.
  • November, 14 – Tracy Chapman heralds “Change” at HBO; the song is to be featured in network’s new image spots.

[ 2006 ]

  • June, 05 – Tracy Chapman performs at the fifth annual Spring Gala of Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York City.
  • June, 13 – Tracy & band embark on a new Where You Live tour in Europe to hit summer festivals, 29 concerts given into 14 countries, including the most famous festivals: Montreux Jazz Festival, North Sea Jazz Festival, Blue Balls Festival, Paleo Festival, Les Vieilles Charrues, Couleur Café…
  • August, 29 – XM Satellite Radio and Starbucks Hear Music are releasing a CD of performances by top artists recorded during XM’s “Artist Confidential” original music series, “Fast Car” is included in the tracklisting.
  • October, 06 – Tracy Chapman is singing at the RFK Memorial Benefit Kerry Kennedy is hosting at Chelsea Piers.

[ 2007 ]

  • January, 31 – Tracy sings a couple of songs including “Stand By Me” at the annual amfAR dinner in New York.
  • March, 10 – Tracy Chapman is part of TED2007 conference, she performs an acoustic set including a new song especially composed for TED “Let Me Stop Thinking”.
  • March, 20 – Tracy performs at “Grow to Be”, an annual fundraising event to benefit the Women’s HIV Program at the University of California, San Francisco.
  • November, 20 – Release of A Very Special Christmas DVD, including Tracy’s cover “O’ Holy Night” performed with Andy Stoller.

[ 2008 ]

  • February, 09 – Tracy wrote and recorded the music for the play, “Blood Knot” (by Athol Fugard) to be running at the A.C.T theater in San Francisco from Feb. 9 – March 9 2008.
  • July, 3 – Atlantic Records announces the return of Tracy Chapman to record her 8th album.
  • August, 5 – Announcement of the 21 dates upcoming european solo acoustic tour to promote the release of Our Bright Future.
  • November, 10 – Release of Our Bright Future, Tracy Chapman’s 8th album
  • November, 12 – Launch of Our Bright Future European solo winter tour in Brussels, Belgium.
  • December 21- End of the Our Bright Future European solo winter tour in Barcelona, Spain

[ 2009 ]

  • April 07 – Tracy  sings “Sing For You”, “Talkin’Bout A Revolution” and “Stand By Me” in the french musical TV show Taratata
  • April 21 – Tracy sings “Talkin’bout a Revolution” and a cover of Joni Mitchell “Big Yellow Taxi” at the Goldman Environmental Prize in San Francisco
  • May, 07 – Tracy Chapman attends the 2009 Leadership Recognition Dinner to support the San Francisco AIDS Foundation  in San Francisco
  • May, 11 – Tracy received a master of fine arts degrees at the American Conservatory Theater (A.C.T) in San Francisco
  • August 20 : Tracy Chapman is interviewed by NPR in the Tell Me More Show
  • October 15: Tracy Chapman performed at the opening in SF Fundraiser event with President Barack Obama
  • December 1rst : Tracy Chapman attended the amfAR’s 10th Annual Gala in San Francisco
  • December 3rd: Tracy Chapman is nominated for Best Contemporary Folk Album for the album “Our Bright Future” at the Grammys
[ 2010 ]
  • May 9 : Tracy Chapman was amongst the celebs to celebrate the tenth anniversary of Oprah Winfrey’s ‘O’ Magazine with thousands of her fans in New York City. The popular television host marked the occasion by leading a charity walk titled ‘Live Your Best Life.
  • May 11: Tracy Chapman performed Fast Car at the First Anniversary of The ASCAP Collection

[ 2011 ]

[ 2012 ]

[ 2015 ]

  • April 16: Tracy Chapman performs “Stand By Me” at the Late Show with David Letterman
  • November 20: Tracy Chapman releases her “Greatest Hits” album

[ 2020 ]

[ 2023 ]

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