It was 1987 when Brian Koppelman was a student at Tufts University and offered to show Tracy Chapman’s work to his father who owned a publishing company. Brian ended up promoting her songs to local radio stations and she was signed to Electra Records the following year.
Her self-titled debut album, Tracy Chapman, was released in April of 1988 and went Platinum six times in the United States alone. Most of you remember the song “Fast Car” from this album which got lots of air time. Tracy won three Grammys for that album.
Here 2nd and 3rd albums were not as popular, but Tracy took home a Grammy again in 1996 with her song “Give Me One Reason” from her fourth album, “New Beginnings.” I had been going to college in Memphis for year by then and I remember turning that song up every time it came on the radio. It was possibly an unknown underlying seed to how I really felt about Memphis. And that seed would grow and become a reality five years later.
But around 1998-1999, I rented a room from a man who ended up letting one of his friends temporarily rent the couch in the living room. I was very passive and easy going so it didn’t bother me because my part of the rent was now only a third. And the new tenant was around my age and also gay. I remember he had excellent tastes in music because I would snoop through his CD collection on my days off when I had the house to myself.
He had a copy of New Beginnings which I swiped for my listening pleasure. I never ended up putting it back and my long love affair for Tracy was born. And yeah, I remember his name, only because it’s written on the booklet inside the CD case (Yes, I’ve tried looking him up on Facebook already. He’s not there.).
Anyway, that CD has gotten lots of play over the years along with her first CD that I eventually bought a copy of. And that’s where I was the first time I ever heard Tracy Chapman.