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6 Artists Influenced By Tracy Chapman: Luke Combs, Brandi Carlile, Tori Amos & More
Tracy Chapman

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6 Artists Influenced By Tracy Chapman: Luke Combs, Brandi Carlile, Tori Amos & More

Three decades after Tracy Chapman’s eponymous first LP hit the shelves, take a look at the artists who owe a debt of gratitude to the 13-time GRAMMY-nominee.

GRAMMYs/Jan 8, 2024 - 02:58 pm

Editor’s note: This story was updated on Monday, Jan. 8, to include mention of Luke Combs and his 2024 GRAMMY nomination.

Renowned for her stripped-back folky sound, social conscience and storytelling abilities, Tracy Chapman has never really fitted into the pop landscape. The singer/songwriter emerged in the late 1980s, a period when big-voiced power balladeers and exuberant teen princesses were all the rage. And throughout the following two decades, the Cleveland native continued to assemble an impressive body of work that remained utterly impervious to fleeting chart trends. 

Chapman's determination to carve out her own distinct path has undeniably reaped its rewards. Her self-titled debut album topped the Billboard 200 in 1988, sold 20 million copies and received six GRAMMY nominations; she won three (Best Contemporary Folk Album, Best Female Pop Vocal Performance and the coveted Best New Artist). A mid-'90s career resurgence, meanwhile, helped to boost her awards tally, with biggest hit "Give Me A Reason" picking up Best Rock Song. 

And whether standing in for Stevie Wonder at Nelson Mandela's 70th Birthday Tribute Concert or performing "Talkin’ Bout a Revolution" on the eve of the 2020 presidential election, Chapman has used her earthy voice to soundtrack several key historical moments.   And the very traditional kind of artist even unwittingly became a viral sensation thanks to a powerful rendition of Ben E. King classic "Stand By Me" in aid of David Letterman's late-night retirement.  

Although Chapman hasn't released a studio album since 2008's Our Bright Future, her music has remained an ever-present. From Sam Smith and Justin Bieber, to Passenger and Luke Combs, it's probably quicker to list which contemporary acts haven't covered her defining single "Fast Car" in recent years; dance producer Jonas Blue even took it back into the Hot 100 In 2015. Kelly ClarksonBlack Pumas and Jamila Woods have all paid tribute by tackling different songs from Chapman's remarkably consistent oeuvre, too.

Of course, Chapman's modern-day cachet extends beyond the odd song. Here's a look at five artists who have credited the star as a formative influence on their entire careers.

Luke Combs

By now, an ocean of ink has been spilled about Luke Combs making Tracy Chapman’s "Fast Car" a hit once more — from its racial, sexual, class, gender, and genre dynamics, to whether whitewashing was at play. But with all due respect to the talking heads, the truth is arguably much simpler: when it comes to great singer/songwriters, game recognizes game.

"There was this one song that really stuck out to me. It was called 'Fast Car,'" Combs said onstage last year. “That song meant a lot to me since then — for my whole life. I always think about my dad when it comes on and us spending time together.” It’s awfully telling, too, that Combs didn’t flip the gender of the song — a token of respect. He, too, is a "checkout girl."

Decades after its creation, Combs' take on "Fast Car" made a U-turn to the top of the Billboard country charts; at the 2024 GRAMMYs, his version is nominated for Best Country Solo Performance.

"It has stayed with me since I have played it in my live show now for six-plus years and everyone — I mean everyone — across all these stadiums relates to this song and sings along," Combs later told Billboard. That’s the gift of a supernatural songwriter." Yes, “Fast Car" is deeply, incontrovertibly human, and earthbound. But Combs reminded us that it’s charged with magic, too. — Morgan Enos

Khalid 

Just like Chapman, Khalid racked up a glut of GRAMMY nominations with his debut album, American Teen. And while promoting the record on BBC Radio One's Live Lounge in 2018, the chart-topper doffed his cap to one of its major influences with an acoustic reworking of "Fast Car." An obvious choice, perhaps, but speaking to Forbes later that same year, Khalid insisted that he was far from just a fair-weather fan. 

"For me, Tracy Chapman was just someone who inspires me in terms of songwriting," the "Talk" hitmaker revealed. "When I think about songwriting just how she can make you feel like you're in that moment." Chapman was also the first name that came to mind when Khalid was asked about his biggest musical inspiration in our One Take series.  

Lisa Marie Presley 

The late Lisa Marie Presley took her time following in her father's footsteps, releasing her debut album, To Whom It May Concern, at the relatively late age of 35. But it was the music of singer/songwriters such as Linda Ronstadt, Shelby Lynne and, in particular, Tracy Chapman (rather than the rock and roll of Elvis) that informed her sound.  

In a 2012 chat to promote third LP Storm and Grace, Presley told Rolling Stone India, "I've never met Tracy, but she's always been a huge influence on me; I don't even know if she knows that. From her first album until everything, she's been such an influence on me as a singer-songwriter." 

Presley also referenced Chapman in an interview with the Huffington Post about her musical inspirations, adding, "I love women who sing, and they mean what they're saying, and they reach in and grab you. It moves you. You can feel the singer, and it's for real." And while appearing on BBC Radio 2’s Tracks of My Years in 2013, the star selected "Smoke and Ashes" from Chapman's 1995 LP New Beginning as one of her all-time favorites.  

Valerie June 

"The missing link between Memphis Minnie and Tracy Chapman" is how singer/songwriter Valerie June was once described. No doubt that Chapman, whose sound combines folk-pop with everything from soul and bluegrass to traditional Appalachian music, would have been on board with such comparisons.   

June became a die-hard Chapman fan while growing up in Jackson, Tennessee, as she explained to the Washington Post in 2014: "I wanted to perform from probably the age of four or five, but I never believed I could. I saw Tracy Chapman and Whitney Houston and wanted to be like them. But I thought, 'Yeah, no way. They didn't come from a little old place like this.'" 

Of course, June did manage to carve a niche for herself in the wider world. She even picked up a Best American Roots Song nod at the 2022 GRAMMYs for "Call Me A Fool," a collaboration with Stax legend Carla Thomas. And one of her proudest career moments was following in Chapman's footsteps by appearing on "Austin City Limits."  

Brandi Carlile 

Brandi Carlile has achieved several GRAMMY milestones throughout her glittering career. The Americana favorite was the most-nominated artist at the 2019 ceremony in which she took home three gongs. Then in 2022, she became the first-ever female songwriter to pick up two Song Of The Year nods simultaneously. And the music of Tracy Chapman helped set Carlile on her 24-time nominated path. 

Carlile has frequently acknowledged the influence that the "Fast Car" hitmaker has had on her career. While hosting "Somewhere Over the Radio," a SiriusXM show designed to celebrate "queer excellence," the star played one of her most cherished Chapman songs. And during her 2023 A Special Solo Performance tour, she brought out wife Catherine to perform a duet of New Beginning cut "The Promise." 

Carlile is such a fan that while responding to a fan on Twitter in the pandemic-hit 2020, she argued that one of the few ways the year could redeem itself was if Chapman dropped a new album.  

Tori Amos 

Eight-time GRAMMY nominee Tori Amos and Tracy Chapman began their careers in tandem: David Kershenbaum executive produced the eponymous first albums from both the former's short-lived synth-pop outfit Y Kant Tori Read and the latter singer-songwriter around the same time. And the flame-haired pianist was one of the first to recognize that her counterpart was something special. 

In a Pitchfork interview about her musical tastes, Amos revealed that Tracy Chapman essentially changed her entire outlook. "It woke me up and took me back to my 5-year-old self, who was creating from a pure place of intention of music being magic, as a place where we could walk into and feel many different things." 

Amos subsequently ditched the crop top, leather pants and copious amounts of hairspray and, like Chapman, followed her artistic instincts. When asked by Glamour magazine in 2012 which female artists its younger readers should explore, the "Cornflake Girl" hitmaker didn't hesitate in mentioning her fellow 1988 debutant.  

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Press Play: Watch Tish Melton Preview Debut EP With A Stripped-Down Performance Of "Sober"
Tish Melton

Photo: Courtesy of Tish Melton

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Press Play: Watch Tish Melton Preview Debut EP With A Stripped-Down Performance Of "Sober"

Indie pop newcomer — and Brandi Carlile's mentee — Tish Melton premieres "Sober," an emotional track from her upcoming EP, 'When We're Older,' out March 1.

GRAMMYs/Feb 13, 2024 - 07:50 pm

Beneath the empty bottles, Tish Melton wants to know if her love is true; to her, drunken confessions of love mean nothing. It's what happens when the party's over and no one is watching — that's when she sees that person at their most authentic.

"You're standing close/ But you're so far away/ Your eyes are closed/ But you see me anyway," Melton sings on the bridge of her emotional track "Sober." "And I swear you told me you love me on the walk home/ If you meant it, I'll never know/ I think we should stay sober."

In this episode of Press Play, the indie pop newcomer premieres "Sober" with a raw and intimate acoustic performance.

"Sober" is an unreleased track from her upcoming first EP, When We're Older, which arrives on March 1. Melton previously released three singles in 2023, "Damage," "The Chase," and "Michelle."

As she prepares her debut project, Melton already has a major supporter in her corner: nine-time GRAMMY winner Brandi Carlile, who has been a mentor to Melton since recognizing her talent at her debut show at the Troubadour in Los Angeles.

"Tish is so young and so brilliant," Carlile, who produced When We're Older, revealed in a press statement. "Like most lessons in life, I learned this one while I thought I was teaching it. We should guide youth in music, but there is no question that it should lead."

Watch the video above to hear Tish Melton's honest performance of "Sober," and check back to GRAMMY.com for more new episodes of Press Play.

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Watch All The Performances From The 2024 GRAMMYs: Tracy Chapman & Luke Combs, Billie Eilish, Olivia Rodrigo & More
Annie Lennox performs during the 66th GRAMMY Awards

Photos: Kevin Winter/Getty Images for The Recording Academy

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Watch All The Performances From The 2024 GRAMMYs: Tracy Chapman & Luke Combs, Billie Eilish, Olivia Rodrigo & More

The 66th GRAMMY Awards were full of memorable moments and incredible performances. Relive Music's Biggest Night with performance videos from Joni Mitchell, Annie Lennox, Gaby Moreno & David Aguilar, and more.

GRAMMYs/Feb 7, 2024 - 12:57 am

The 2024 GRAMMYs were marked by record-breaking wins, moving speeches and viral moments both on- and offstage. But what truly tied together Music's Biggest Night — beyond artistic excellence — was its slate of stunning and emotional performances.

From Dua Lipa's opening act and new song, to Joni Mitchell's first-ever performance on the GRAMMY stage and the tearjerking-yet-thrilling tribute to lost icons, the 66th GRAMMY Awards were a showcase of the best of the business. 

Press play on the videos below and relive the most exciting performances from the 66th GRAMMY Awards

Dua Lipa opened the 66th GRAMMY Awards with a medley of the first two singles from her upcoming album. Tracks "Houdini" and "Training Season" are the first two singles off Dua Lipa’s forthcoming third studio record, which follows her GRAMMY-winning 2020 LP Future Nostalgia. The 2024 GRAMMYs were a sneak peek of "Training Season," as the track officially arrives Feb. 15.

In a full-circle moment, Luke Combs perform his GRAMMY-nominated cover of "Fast Car" — with a suprise appearance from Tracy Chapman. "Fast Car" earned Chapman a GRAMMY for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance in 1989, when she took home the trophy. On the GRAMMY stage, the otherwise reclusive Chapman beamed as she strummed an acoustic guitar and duetted with Combs.

"Tracy is such an icon and, I mean, one of the best songwriters that I think any of us will ever be around to see," Combs said in the video introducing his performance.

Miley Cyrus had only performed "Flowers" twice before taking the GRAMMY-winning song to stage on Music’s Biggest Night. And while the hit track off Endless Summer Vacation was sure to be a showstopper, Cyrus’ performance was made even more special by winning her first GRAMMY moments before. After  eight nominations and many years in the industry, the singer’s exclamations of excitment were felt by everyone watching.

After winning the GRAMMY Award for Best Song Written For Visual Media at the Premiere Ceremony, Billie Eilish and brother FINNEAS performed the existential pop ballad from Barbie on the GRAMMY stage. "What Was I Made For?" would go on to win Song Of The Year, showing the world that Eilish certainly knows what she was made for.

Eighty-year-old icon ad 2022 MusiCares Person Of The Year Joni Mitchell performed for the first time at the GRAMMY Awrds — and there wasn’t a dry eye in the house. Seated in an elegant chair and surrounded by chandeliers, Mitchell offered an emotional performance of her 1969 hit "Both Sides Now." The legened was backed by Brandi Carlile, Allison Russell, Sistastrings, Lucius, Jacob Collier, and Blake Mills; earlier in the day, "Both Sides" took home the golden gramophone for Best Folk Album.

SZA went into the 2024 GRAMMYs as the most-nominated artist and took home awards for  Best Pop Duo/Group Performance and Best R&B Song. She then gave back to the audience, performing the GRAMMY-winning "Snooze," clad in a leather duster and wide-brimmed hat.

Olivia Rodrigo may not have taken home a golden gramophone, but she still left her all on the GRAMMYs stage. Donning an appropriately hued dress and just a dash of "blood" on her face, Rodrigo performed "vampire" as red liquid seeped from the walls behind her.

Billy Joel performed twice at the 66th GRAMMY Awards, treating audiences to one familiar tune and one brand-new track. Joel shared his newest offering, "Turn the Lights Back On," just before Album Of The Year was announced. His first release since 2007, "Turn the Lights Back On" marked his first time playing on the GRAMMYs stage in more than 20 years.

Burna Boy brought a piece of his homeland to the GRAMMYs, dancing among throngs of colorfully-dressed performers and equally colorful buildings. The Nigerian Afrobeats star performed "On Form," "City Boys" and "Sitting On Top Of The World," iwth special appearances by Brandy and 21 Savage.

U2 took the GRAMMY audience on a quick trip to Las Vegas, performing "Atomic City" live from the Sphere. The swirling, psychedelic and high-tech performance was the first live broadcast from Sin City venue, which the 22-time GRAMMY winners are currently doing a residency.

During the moving In Memoriam segment of the 2024 GRAMMYs, Eurythmics singer Annie Lennox was joined by Wendy Melvoin and Lisa Coleman to pay tribute to Sinead O'Connor. Together, they offered an emotional cover of the late Irish pioneer's "Nothing Compares 2 U."

Further honoring the lives of incredible individuals that the music world lost in 2023, Fantasia Barrino made Tina Turner proud with a high-energy performance of "Proud Mary." The performance and tribute were introduced by Oprah Winfrey, who called Turner "a towering figure. She is our forever goddess of rock and roll who inspired millions, a moving symbol of grace and grit, soul and power…And as those big wheels of time keep on turnin’, Tina’s voice continues to speak to all of us." 

Continuing the In Memoriam tribute, Global Impact Award honoree Lenny Kravitz paid respect to Clarence Avant as the "Godfather of Black Music" with a tribute that included a performance of "Ain't No Sunshine" and "Lean on Me" by Album Of The Year nominee Jon Batiste.

During the Premiere Ceremony, Gaby Moreno & El David Aguilar performed a harmonious and haunting “Luna de Xelaju.” Their take on the popular Guatemalan waltz composed by Paco Pérez was set against a video of falling rose petals, highlighting the romanticism of the duo’s voices.

The Premiere Ceremony kicked off the 2024 GRAMMYs with an exciting performance from Pentatonix, Jordin Sparks, Larkin Poe, J. Ivy, and Sheila E., who welcomed audiences to a day-long celebration of musical excellence.

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(L-R) boygenius, Taylor Swift and Jack Antonoff at the 2024 GRAMMYs.

Photo: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for The Recording Academy

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10 Must-See Moments From The 2024 GRAMMYs: Taylor Swift Makes History, Billy Joel & Tracy Chapman Return, Boygenius Manifest Childhood Dreams

The 66th Annual GRAMMY Awards wrote another monumental chapter in music history with returns from legends like Celine Dion and wins by a promising new generation of artists like Victoria Monét.

GRAMMYs/Feb 5, 2024 - 08:35 pm

Just like that, another GRAMMYs has come and gone — but the 2024 telecast brought many moments that will be immortalized in pop culture history.

It was the evening of legends, as Billy Joel and Tracy Chapman returned to the stage for the first time in decades and Joni Mitchell made her debut with a performance of her 1966 classic, "Both Sides, Now." Stevie Wonder and Celine Dion honored greats, both those we've lost and those who are dominating today. And Meryl Streep had two memorable moments at the show, making a fashionably late entrance and getting a hilarious GRAMMY lesson from Mark Ronson.

But it was the younger generation of artists who ultimately dominated the show. Boygenius — the supergroup of Phoebe Bridgers, Lucy Dacus, and Julien Baker — won numerous awards in the Rock, Metal & Alternative Music Field. Billie Eilish and SZA scooped up a couple more golden gramophones, respectively, and Best New Artist winner Victoria Monét celebrated three wins in total, also winning Best R&B Album and Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical.

Taylor Swift built on the momentum of her colossal year with more GRAMMY records and an unexpected announcement of her next studio album.

Check out the full list of winners here, and take a look at our top 10 highlights from another show-stopping installment of the GRAMMYs below.

Boygenius Run To Accept Their First GRAMMY Award

Boygenius won the first trophy of their careers during the Premiere Ceremony, and they were so ecstatic they sprinted through the crowds to get to the stage.

"Oh my God, I want to throw up," Lucy Dacus said as the group accepted their Best Rock Performance trophy for "Not Strong Enough."

Even though the trio was over the moon, they weren't entirely shocked by their win: "We were delusional enough as kids to think this would happen to us one day," she continued. Phoebe Bridgers would sing at a local Guitar Center "in hopes of getting discovered," while Julien Baker dreamed of performing in stadiums as she played in multiple bands, and Dacus has been perfecting her acceptance speech for years.

Their hard work was manifested three times over, as the trio also won Best Rock Song for "Not Strong Enough" and Best Alternative Music Album for the record.

Killer Mike Makes A Clean Sweep

Killer Mike had the largest GRAMMY night of his career, winning all three of the Rap Categories for which he was nominated: Best Rap Performance and Best Rap Song for "SCIENTISTS & ENGINEERS," and Best Rap Album for MICHAEL.

"I'm from the Southeast, like DJ Paul, and I'm a Black man in America. As a kid, I had a dream to become a part of music, and that 9-year-old is very excited right now," he cheered. "I want to thank everyone who dares to believe art can change the world."

Minutes after his sweep, the LAPD detained the Run the Jewels rapper. However, he was released and still able to celebrate his achievements, Killer Mike's lawyer told Variety.

Miley Cyrus Finally Receives Her "Flowers"

Miley Cyrus entered the GRAMMYs with six nominations for her eighth studio album, Endless Summer Vacation. After she won Best Pop Solo Performance for "Flowers," she delivered a jubilant performance in celebration. "Started to cry, but then remembered, I just won my first GRAMMY!" she exclaimed at the song's bridge, throwing her hands in the air and joyfully jumping around the stage.

Cyrus' excitement brought a tangible energy to the performance, making for one of the night's most dynamic — and apparently one of Oprah Winfrey's favorites, as the camera caught the mogul dancing and singing along.

"Flowers" earned Cyrus a second GRAMMY later in the night, when the No. 1 hit was awarded Record Of The Year. 

Tracy Chapman Makes A Rare Appearance

Luke Combs breathed a second life into Tracy Chapman's "Fast Car" when he released a cover of the track in April 2023. He quickly climbed to the top of the Billboard charts and received a nomination for Best Country Solo Performance at this year's show. Of course, it called for a special celebration — one that was meaningful for both Combs and GRAMMYs viewers.

Chapman joined the country star on stage for her first televised performance since 2015, trading off verses with Combs as he adoringly mouthed the words. The duet also marked Chapman's first appearance on the GRAMMY stage in 20 years, as she last performed "Give Me One Reason" at the 2004 GRAMMYs. (It also marked her second time singing "Fast Car" on the GRAMMYs stage; she performed it in 1989, the same year the song won Best Pop Vocal Performance, Female and Chapman took home three awards total, including Best New Artist.)

Naturally, Chapman's return earned a standing ovation from the crowd. As Combs fittingly put it in an Instagram post thanking the Recording Academy for the opportunity, it was a "truly remarkable moment."

Read More: 2024 GRAMMY Nominations: See The Full Winners & Nominees List

Joni Mitchell Takes The GRAMMY Stage For The First Time At 80

In one of the most emotional parts of the night, Joni Mitchell performed on the GRAMMYs stage for the first time in her nearly 60-year career.

Accompanied by Brandi Carlile — who referred to Mitchell as "the matriarch of imagination" before the performance — Lucius, SistaStrings, Allison Russell, Blake Mills, and Jacob Collier, Mitchell sang a touching rendition of "Both Sides Now."

"Joni is one of the most influential and emotionally generous creators in human history," Carlile  added in her introduction. "Joni just turned 80, my friends, but we all know she's timeless!"

Mitchell also won her 10th golden gramophone at the 2024 GRAMMYs, as her live album Joni Mitchell at Newport was awarded Best Folk Album at the Premiere Ceremony.

Stevie Wonder Salutes The Late Tony Bennett, Duetted By His Hologram

Another heartfelt moment came during this year's In Memoriam segment, when Stevie Wonder memorialized his friend, Tony Bennett, who passed away from Alzheimer's disease in 2023.

"Tony, I'm going to miss you forever. I love you always, and God bless that He allowed us to have you in this time and space in our lives," Wonder proclaimed. Thanks to a hologram of Bennett, the two singers could duet "For Once in My Life" one last time.

This year's tribute also saw Annie Lennox covering Sinéad O'Connor's "Nothing Compares 2 U," Jon Batiste's medley of Bill Withers' hits, and Fantasia's reimagining of Tina Turner's "Proud Mary."

Meryl Streep Gets Educated On Album Vs. Record And Single

Meryl Streep joined Mark Ronson — who happens to be her son-in-law — to announce the Record Of The Year winner, which sparked a funny interaction between the two when Streep thought she was announcing Album Of The Year.

"A record is an album!" Streep confidently declared, only for Ronson to give a quick 101 on the difference between Record, Song, and Album Of The Year.

"It's a really important award, and it's an award that recognizes everything that goes into making a great record — the producers, the recording engineer, and the artist, and all their contributions," Ronson explained of Record Of The Year.

"It's the Everything Award! It's the best," Streep smiled.

Celine Dion Surprises The World With A Special Cameo

Before the GRAMMYs commenced, producer Ben Winston told viewers they would be in for a treat because of a surprise presenter for the final award of the night, Album Of The Year. "They are an absolute global icon. I think jaws will drop to the floor. People will be on their feet," he shared.

It was none other than Celine Dion, who has largely been out of the limelight after her stiff person syndrome diagnosis.

"When I say that I'm happy to be here, I really mean it with my heart," Dion said. "It gives me great joy to present a GRAMMY award that two legends, Diana Ross and Sting, presented to me 27 years ago."

Dion is referring to her Album Of The Year win at the 39th GRAMMY Awards in 1997, when her smash LP Falling Into You won the honor. 

Taylor Swift Breaks The Record For Most AOTY Wins

It was a historic night for Taylor Swift in more ways than one.

She began the evening by winning her 13th GRAMMY for Best Pop Vocal Album for Midnights. To commemorate the milestone (13 is her lucky number), Swift announced her 11th studio album, The Tortured Poets Department, arriving on April 19.

She ended the evening with a coveted fourth Album Of The Year win, which made Swift the artist with the most AOTY nods in GRAMMY history.

"I would love to tell you this is the best moment of my life, but I feel this happy when I finish a song or crack the code to a bridge that I love or when I'm shot listing a music video or when I'm rehearsing with my dancers or my band or getting ready to go to Tokyo to play a show," she said. "The award is the work. All I want to do is keep being able to do this."

Billy Joel Serves Double GRAMMY Duty

After Swift's momentous win, Billy Joel ended the ceremony with a feel-good performance of his 1980 single, "You May Be Right." Along with being a rousing show closer, it was also his second performance of the night; Joel performed his newest offering, "Turn the Lights Back On," before Album Of The Year was announced.

Joel's performances included three firsts: It was the debut live rendition of "Turn the Lights Back On," his first release since 2007, and the performances marked his first time playing on the GRAMMYs stage in more than two decades. It was a fitting finale for a history-making show, one that beautifully celebrated icons of the past, present and future.

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GRAMMY Rewind: Brandi Carlile Nervously Accepts Her First GRAMMY After "The Joke" Wins In 2019
Brandi Carlile at the 2019 GRAMMYs.

Photo: David Crotty/Patrick McMullan

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GRAMMY Rewind: Brandi Carlile Nervously Accepts Her First GRAMMY After "The Joke" Wins In 2019

Fourteen years into her career, Brandi Carlile won her first GRAMMY award — and because the long-awaited victory was so meaningful, she couldn't help "violently shaking" on stage.

GRAMMYs/Jun 2, 2023 - 05:02 pm

Brandi Carlile has been making waves in the Americana community for nearly two decades. But in 2019, Carlile's career began a different — and much bigger — trajectory thanks to a little song called "The Joke." 

The lead single from her sixth studio album, By the Way, I Forgive You, "The Joke" is dedicated to marginalized communities who constantly feel underrepresented and unloved by society. As a trailblazer in the LBGTQIA+ community, her impassioned vocal performance struck fans and critics alike.

In this episode of GRAMMY Rewind, we revisit the day "The Joke" helped Carlile win her first golden gramophone, for Best American Roots Performance. (It was one of three GRAMMYs Carlile took home that night, as "The Joke" also won Best American Roots Song and By the Way, I Forgive You won Best Americana Album.)

"It's our first GRAMMY!" Carlile cheered alongside her longtime collaborators Phil and Tim Hanseroth. "This means so much to me [...] and Dave Cobb, who wrote this song and brought the best out in us. We can't thank you enough."

Carlile went on to praise her team at Elektra Records and her family. "So many people to thank, but I'm violently shaking right now," she added, then passed the mic to the Hanseroth twins. 

Before the trio left the stage, Carlile quipped, "Whoever we forgot, forgive us. You know we love you, and you know we're terrified!" 

Press play on the video above to watch Brandi Carlile's complete acceptance speech for Best American Roots Performance at the 2019 GRAMMYs, and check back to GRAMMY.com for more new episodes of GRAMMY Rewind.

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