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date: 15 December 2019

Chapman, Tracylocked

  • Maureen Mahon


(b Cleveland, OH, March 30, 1964). American folk-pop singer, songwriter, and guitarist. Raised in a working-class family, she began writing songs at the age of eight and honed her craft as a high-school and college student. While at Tufts University, she made a name for herself on Boston’s coffeehouse circuit. Her self-titled debut album was a popular and critical success with sales buoyed by her appearance on the globally televised Nelson Mandela 70th Birthday Tribute concert at Wembley Stadium in London in June 1988. Chapman has a warm and resonant alto voice and accompanies herself on acoustic guitar. The lyrics of her songs have addressed racism (“Across the Lines”), poverty (“Talkin’ bout a Revolution”), and domestic violence (“Behind the Wall”) as well as romantic love (“Baby, can I hold you”). Her recordings linked a folk-informed acoustic sound with organ, electric guitar, electric bass, and drum accompaniment. Spare and socially conscious, Chapman’s music contrasted with the amplified hard rock and synthesized pop that was popular in the late 1980s. “Fast Car” was a Billboard top ten hit and the album ...

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