Luke Combs thanks Tracy Chapman: I had the ‘best seat in the house’

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Tracy Chapman and Luke Combs’ Grammy duet of “Fast Car” is going to go down in history as one of the most iconic performances ever. For Tracy, who lives a quiet life out of the spotlight, it was her first live performance since 2015 (her 2020 performance of “Talkin’ ‘Bout a Revolution” on Seth Meyers was pre-taped). Combs’ cover of the song was a smashing success on country music radio, which (understandably) caused some controversy. Tracy made a statement in support of the cover and since she has the sole songwriting credit, its success made her the first Black woman to have a #1 song on the country music charts and to win a Country Music Award for Song of the Year. She also made at least $500K in royalties, woot!

For his part, Combs has always been respectful of Tracy and the original song. His version is slightly different to match his style but he never changed any of the lyrics and has spoken about how he’s loved the song since he was a little kid. The duet itself was respectful and you could see it in Luke’s face that he was fulfilling a lifelong dream. This past weekend, he once again showed his respect for Tracy in an Instagram post about his Grammys experience. In the post, he thanked Tracy for allowing him to be a part of her moment, saying that he had the “best seat in the house.”

On Friday, the country star reflected upon Sunday’s whirlwind awards ceremony and his moving duet of “Fast Car” with the singer-songwriter, 59, on Instagram.

The carousel featured two photos of the 33-year-old Grammy nominee beside Chapman. The first included a photo of the two widely beaming the night of their performance. The second photo included the musicians embracing on stage after they concluded their duet.

“What an unreal Grammy week to say the least. There were so many laughs, tears, hugs, and cheers that it almost doesn’t seem real,” wrote Combs. “When it comes to the performance it’s still hard to process how amazing it really was to be up there on that stage. No doubt a defining moment of my career.”

“Tracy, I want to send my sincerest thanks to you for allowing me to be a part of your moment. Thank you for the impact you have had on my musical journey, and the musical journeys of countless other singers, songwriters, musicians, and fans alike,” the post continued. “I hope you felt how much you mean to the world that night. We were all in awe of you up there and I was just the guy lucky enough to have the best seat in the house.”

Along with thanking Chapman, Combs also thanked his team ”for working tirelessly to make this happen” and thanked his wife, Nicole, “for always being by my side.”

Beforehand, Combs recalled memories of listening to Chapman’s original version of “Fast Car.” He explained the hit was his “favorite song before I even knew what a favorite song was.”

[From People]

That was really classy of him. So many artists would make the moment about themselves or take equal credit, but throughout it all, Combs has always made it clear that “Fast Car” is Tracy’s song and that he was singing it as a fan. While I had heard his cover before, I didn’t know anything about Luke except that he did a panel at a conference alongside Maren Morris in 2021. I’m impressed and grateful that he’s done right by Tracy and given her the respect she deserves. I really, really hope they release their live performance as a single.

Also, if you’re interested, Rolling Stone has a great account as to how the duet came to be. Some tidbits include that Tracy and Luke met in person for the first time during their first rehearsal, which was five days before the ceremony. Combs wanted Tracy to have full creative control, so she brought in her own musicians who had performed “Fast Car” with her back in the day and came up with the arrangement. He merely abided by her vision. It’s worth a read if you’re interested.

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16 Responses to “Luke Combs thanks Tracy Chapman: I had the ‘best seat in the house’”

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  1. girl_ninja says:

    I loved seeing Tracy at the Grammys performing her song. She and Luke sounded amazing together, she absolutely glowed. Finding out about how gracious Luke was during this process has me wanting to listen to his version of Fast Car. And yes, I want the live version of their duet to be released.

  2. fishface says:

    So many memories of being squashed in a car alongside 4 other friends, and driving through a hot summer’s night for several hundred kms to see the Amnesty International Concert in Zimbabwe in 1988. I cannot hear Tracy Chapman singing without getting a lump in my throat.

  3. Scamuppet says:

    Tracy is beautiful.

  4. Blithe says:

    I’m SO loving all of this!

    Hoping for the single to drop — so I can listen to this incessantly, and both Tracy and Luke can benefit from collective joy and admiration.

  5. Maddy says:

    The genuine appreciation for and awe he has of her is so beautiful to see. Love it.

  6. BQM says:

    I love this. A lot of gossip can be crass or mean or trifling or make one “incandescent with rage“ and then that’ll show when we comment. But this is pure. It just is a nice story about people showing class and grace and appreciation along with talent. The performance was definitely iconic. They were so in sync. You’d think they’d been duetting forever.

    Tracy’s reserved and private but maybe this renaissance and appreciation will spark something. She certainly seemed relaxed and serene up there. Luke has really impressed me.

    And we’re so freaking divided. It’s a nice thing to see this black queer woman and straight white male country singer being so mutually appreciative and respectful of each other. And the acknowledgment that this song can hit you even when you’re from such different worlds. It plays to our common humanity and our desire to be seen.

    • Blithe says:

      Beautifully said!

    • Caribbean says:

      Nicely said.
      For me, every time I heard his version, I would tune out as it just seems, again, a white person getting more appreciation for a piece of a black person’s art, than the black person ever will. And there is the fact that some white people seem to be extremely uncomfortable saying that they admire a black person. My heart broke wide open when I came to understand (especially when he spoke at the CMAs) that this was pure appreciation of Tracey Chapman.
      I am so used to everything, now, being so transactional, and so it is even more powerful to see that in this instant, it does not seem to be the case; to me, watching the performance, he was just so in awe of her.

      • Yvette says:

        @Caribbean … “Fast Car” was released in 1988, 36 years ago. She and the song received lots of love. Luke Combs’s cover of the song has brought it to the attention of at least two generations who would have otherwise had no knowledge of this incredible, well-crafted song.

        I truly don’t understand the controversy. A good song is a good song. Or perhaps it’s a generational thing (I was 33 in 1988 … it was a different time).

        Tracy Chapman is a gifted songwriter. It appears that she doesn’t have a problem with his cover of the song. From the time when Luke’s cover of “Fast Car” was released, Tracy has expressed nothing but her good wishes to him and her joy at the song’s new found popularity. He didn’t change any of the lyrics, just colored the song with his country twang. 🙂

      • Caribbean says:

        @Yvette, why do you feel the need to school me about this?

    • kirk says:

      Very well said! The first time I heard this (driving in the car) I was kind of put off by it since I didn’t know anything about Luke Combs. And the country approach to this beautiful Tracy Chapman song just felt weird. Not feeling that way anymore, especially after it was the highlight of the Grammys. His respect for her and her graciousness is just wonderful.

  7. K says:

    She is my ❤️ and it’s fantastic that she is receiving so much love. Selfish of me I know she likes her peace but please tour.

  8. Thelma says:

    Classy….i love this moment.

  9. Bumblebee says:

    What a beautiful moment. So nice to see an artist honor someone who inspired him.