When Luke Combs taught himself to play “Fast Car,” he had no idea what that song would ultimately do for his career. The multi-week No. 1 song just won two CMA Awards , one to Combs for Single of the Year, and one to the song’s writer and original performer, Tracy Chapman, for Song of the Year.
“It’s insane, really,” Combs said backstage at the CMA Awards. “I remember sitting in my apartment, I was teaching myself how to play guitar at 21 years old, and spending just days and days and days trying to teach myself how to play that lick, which we all know is so iconic. And I finally figured it out after about a month and a half or two months, ’cause I was so new at playing guitar. But I knew that I wanted to play that song.
“And I remember the first time I got it down, then I tried to sing while I was playing it. I couldn’t do it, ’cause it was so advanced of a thing for me and where I was as a guitar player,” he continued. “And then it took me a few more months to be able to sing it and play it at the same time. It’s been a long journey. That song’s been a huge part of my life for a long time. And, all credit to Tracy for writing one of the best songs ever. It’s insane to behold this for sure.”
While some were hoping for a surprise collaboration on “Fast Car” at the CMA Awards, that unfortunately didn’t happen, nor has Combs ever met Chapman face to face. But their lack of personal interaction does little to sway Combs’ admiration and respect for one of pop music’s most iconic singers.
“I’ve never met Tracy,” Combs revealed. “We haven’t communicated outside of our official correspondences to each other. But that’s something that I hope to do one day in the future. I think she was a trend-setting, barrier-breaking artist when she came out. She continues to be that to this day … I’m super, super humbled to just be a super small part of that.”
Combs praised Chapman when accepting his CMA Award, which is the culmination of a journey that began when Combs was a child.
‘First and foremost, I want to thank Tracy Chapman for writing one of the best songs of all time,” Combs said from stage. “I never, never intended — I just recorded it because I loved the song so much. It’s meant so much to me throughout my entire life. It’s the first favorite song I ever had from the time I was four years old.’