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Tracy Chapman (born March 30, 1964) is an American singer-songwriter.
- As a child…I always had a sense of social conditions and political situations. I think it had to do with the fact that my mother was always discussing things with my sister and me — also because I read a lot. A lot of people in similar situations just have a sense that they’re poor or disenfranchised, but they don’t really think about what’s created the situation or what factors don’t allow them to control their lives.
- On her childhood lessons on poverty in “Tracy Chapman: On Her Own Terms” in Rolling Stone (1988 Sept 22)
- It seems to me that that image was created for female folk singers because they actually had a lot more control than other women in the music scene…They wrote their own songs, they played them, they performed by themselves — there you have a picture of a very independent person, and trying to make them seem emotional and fragile and all puts a softer edge on it. As if there was something wrong with being independent.
- On how she views herself in the female singer-songwriter genre in “Tracy Chapman: On Her Own Terms” in Rolling Stone (1988 Sept 22)
- I think people are foolish to believe that there won’t be major social changes in this country before we possibly, ultimately, destroy ourselves…There’s only so far you can push people before they start to push back, and I’ve seen that in my life. That’s where the things I write about come from. It’s wrong not to encourage people to hope or to dream or even to consider what’s thought to be impossible. That’s the only thing that keeps people alive sometimes. For me and my family, that was one of the only things that kept us going.
- On how she views people and oppression in “Tracy Chapman: On Her Own Terms” in Rolling Stone (1988 Sept 22)
- I think it's important, if you are an artist, to use your music to stand up for what you believe in…That's what everyone should do with their lives…stand up for what they believe in, or try to do some good in the world. I don't think artists have a greater responsibility than anyone else.
- On how artist expression can be a form of political activism in “A militant mellows” in The Guardian (27 Sep 2002)