Born on March 30, 1964 Tracy Chapman was raised in Cleveland, Ohio by her mother. When Tracy was three her mother bought her a ukulele and by the time Chapman was eight she was playing guitar and writing songs. She was raised Baptist and attended an Episcopal school. She was received into the program A Better Chance that provides minority students a way to attend private schools. Tracy joined Tufts University and graduated with degrees in African studies and anthropology.
Tracy played guitar in Clubs and was brought to the attention of Charles Koppelman who signed Chapman in 1986. She graduated from Tufts in 1987 and signed with Elektra Records. In 1988 she circulated Tracy Chapman and began touring and finding fans. Her Fast Car began to rise on the U.S. charts and it became a number 6 pop hit on the Billboard Hot 100. Talkin' "bout a Revolution charted at number 75 and Baby Can I Hold You peaked at number 48. She won three Grammy's for her album and honor as a best new artist. In 1988 Chapman was a performer on the Amnesty International Human Rights Tour.
In 1995 her single Give Me One Reason won the 1997 Grammy for Best Rock Song and peaked at Number 3 on the Billboard charts. It took Tracy four years to bring on her fifth album Telling Stories and Chapman toured in 2003 with her sixth album Let it Rain.
Her seventh album Where you Live in 2005 was supported by major U.S. and European tours. In 2008 Chapman was appointed by the American Conservatory Theater to put together music for Blood Knot.
Chapman is a political and social active musician. She writes about human rights in her music and Fast Car is about poverty. She keeps her sexual orientation very private and writes that her personal life and private life are separate.