Cleveland-born Chapman began playing guitar as a child, and eventually began attending Tufts University. Chapman began performing in coffeehouses and soon signed to SBK, releasing Tracy Chapman (1988 in music). The album was critically acclaimed, and she began touring and building a fanbase. Soon after performing at Nelson Mandela's 70th birthday party, Chapman's "Fast Car" began its rise on the US charts. Album and singles sales were strong, and the album went multi-platinum, as well as winning four Grammies.
The follow-up, Crossroads (1989 in music) was less successful. By 1992 in music's Matters of the Heart, Chapman was playing to a small and devoted cult. To the surprise of most industry-watchers, however, Chapman's 1995 album New Beginnings included the hit single "Give Me One Reason" (1995 in music). One of her latest albums was 2000 in music's Telling Stories. Her latest album is Let It Rain.