Daily streams of Tracy Chapman’s ‘Fast Car’ increased over 260% on Spotify

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People can’t get enough of Tracy Chapman after her surprise Grammy appearance when she performed “Fast Car” with Luke Combs.

Chapman, the song’s original singer-songwriter, and Combs, whose country cover earned a Grammy nomination, teamed up for a moving performance in the opening half hour of the 2024 Grammy Awards on Sunday, Feb. 4.

Since that emotional moment, people have been streaming Chapman’s music, with Spotify seeing some amazing first-time discoveries for the singer’s music. In the following day since the performance, Chapman’s entire music catalog has seen a nearly 430% uptick in discoveries this week alone in the U.S., TODAY.com can exclusively share.

Between Monday, Feb. 5 and Wednesday, Feb. 7, average daily streams of Chapman’s music increased over 370% on the music streaming platform. And that’s not all.

Average daily streams of the singer’s 1988 self-titled album, “Tracy Chapman,” increased 350%. Additionally, average daily streams of the 1998 song “Fast Car” increased over 260% on Spotify, and average daily searches of “Fast Car” on Spotify increased over 1,300%.

The date reflects the average daily streams on Spotify between Feb. 5-7 in the United States as compared to the week previous.

During the Grammys, Chapman, whose appearance was rumored but not confirmed, started singing on the Crypto.com Arena’s darkened stage before Combs joined her. Chapman strummed a guitar, as the two looked on at each other, passing verses back and forth.

In the audience, Taylor Swift — who has roots in country music — mouthed the words and clapped along. When the song was finished, the audience rose to their feet, applauding.

Online, fans shared their emotional reactions to Chapman’s surprise appearance — including that they were crying, but “didn’t know why,” as one X user put it.

“How very dare the Grammys bring out Tracy Chapman and make me instantly cry like that,” another X user wrote.

Others were “tearing up for Chapman,” in addition to crying themselves.

This was a “full-circle” moment for Combs, as he said in an introduction video that played before the performance, and for the song, which saw a bit of controversy in 2023.

Following the performance, Combs also reflected on the “remarkable” moment.

“I’ll have more to say about last night when I’ve had the chance to process it. All I can say now is thank you Tracy and thank you @recordingacademy for letting me be a part of a truly remarkable moment. I’m very thankful,” the country music star wrote alongside a Billboard post about the duo’s performance he shared in his Instagram stories.

“Fast Car” was a hit when it came out in 1988: It scored a No. 6 ranking on Billboard’s Hot 100 and earned Chapman one of three Grammys she took home that year. Combs’ version has brought it to No. 1 on the Billboard Country Airplay chart in July and landed the No. 2 spot on Billboard’s Hot 100.

When Combs’ version took off in 2023, Chapman hadn’t given an interview in years. She told Billboard of the song in July of last year, “I never expected to find myself on the country charts, but I’m honored to be there. I’m happy for Luke and his success and grateful that new fans have found and embraced ‘Fast Car.’”

Combs frequently covered Chapman’s “Fast Car” during live concerts, but only released his cover as part of his March 2022 album “Gettin’ Old.”

The country star said he was first drawn to the song while driving with his father. “There was this one song that really stuck out to me. It was called ‘Fast Car.’ That song meant a lot to me since then—for my whole life. I always think about my dad when it comes on and us spending time together,” he said in live footage from a concert posted to his Instagram.

Combs’ cover ignited conversation about who could make a country song popular.

In a Washington Post article considered to be the genesis of the debate, Emily Yahr wrote, “Although many are thrilled to see ‘Fast Car’ back in the spotlight and a new generation discovering Chapman’s work, it’s clouded by the fact that, as a Black queer woman, Chapman would have almost zero chance of that achievement herself in country music.”

Combs frequently expressed gratitude to Chapman. After Chapman gave a response to Billboard, he responded with effusiveness.

“Oh man, ‘Fast Car’ has surprised me more than you can imagine. Tracy Chapman wrote this perfect song that I first heard with my dad and it has stayed with me since I have played it in my live show now for six-plus years and everyone — I mean everyone — across all these stadiums relates to this song and sings along. That’s the gift of a supernatural song writer. The success of my cover is unreal and I think it’s so cool that Tracy is getting recognized and has reached new milestones. I love that she is out there feeling all the love and that she gave me a shout-out! Thank you, Tracy!”

Combs’ manager, Chris Kappy, told Billboard in July that Combs would be “more than excited” to sing with Chapman.

“These kinds of debates, I think, are great because they give an opportunity to raise the larger questions about the fact that, in terms of airplay on largely country stations, you’re not going to see Black women — Black queer women — get that kind of exposure or airplay had they released just the original song,” Cooper said. “So these conversations are important to have.”

Looks like their long-awaited collaboration finally happened.

This article was originally published on TODAY.com…Read more by Elena Nicolaou and Liz Calvario

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