NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — History was made at the 57th annual CMA Awards in Nashville on Wednesday night as Tracy Chapman became the first Black songwriter to win Song of the Year.
Luke Combs’ recording of Chapman’s “Fast Car” helped earn Chapman the nomination — and ultimately the win — 35 years after Chapman’s version was released.
Presenter Sara Evans read a statement from the notoriously reclusive singer.
“I’m sorry I couldn’t join you all tonight,” Chapman wrote. “It’s truly an honor for my song to be newly recognized after 35 years of its debut. Thank you to the CMAs and a special thanks to Luke and all of the fans of ‘Fast Car.’”
Combs‘ version of “Fast Car” reached No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 this summer and took home the first two CMA Awards of the evening, for both song and single of the year.
When Combs was asked if he had any words for Chapman, he thanked her and explained what the song means to him.
“This song has meant, for me, throughout my entire life, it’s something that reminds me of me and my dad, and it’s the song that I’ll play for my son, and a song that ultimately that will go down in my history too. It’ll be synonymous with me now as well, which is insane to think about because it’s meant so much to me so I would just tell her thank you and congratulations,” said Combs.
Combs also thanked Chapman in his acceptance speech for writing “one of the best songs of all time.”
“Fast Car” was originally released in 1988, earning Chapman a Grammy for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance the following year.