Video: Rare pre-fame footage of Tracy Chapman performing “For My Lover”

Tracy Chapman at the Michigan Womyns Music Festival in 1986
Tracy Chapman at the Michigan Womyns Music Festival in 1986

Tracy Chapman was signed to Elektra in 1987, released her Debut Album in 1988 and became internationally famous seemingly overnight.

Before Chapman had this platform for her art, however, the coffeehouses of Massachusetts, including: Night Stage, Nameless Coffee House, Me and Thee, Club Passim, as well as women’s events and festivals provided a more modest stage.

No matter the size of the audience, Chapman’s simple yet truly compelling craftsmanship leaves no room for indifference. Though it can be hard to understand if you haven’t seen it for yourself, ask anyone lucky enough to have attended a show and note the passion in their accounts.

To help us travel back in time to this important chapter in Chapman’s career, we have unearthed some very rare live footage of Tracy performing “For My Lover” at the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival. Take a look and you will see that everything was there at the age of 22: the talent, the power, the intensity and the purity.

The Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival dusted off a photo from their archives and posted it on Facebook a while back. Here we can see examples of those passionate reviews and testimonials from those who attended the concert. Even before fame, Chapman created unforgettable memories.

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