If there were a reason for Tracy Chapman to return to late night TV, the 2020 election would be it. On the eve of the historic vote, Tracy made a rare appearance to deliver a moving performance of ‘Talkin’ Bout A Revolution.’
It’s been five years since Tracy Chapman last performed on television, and her return couldn’t have been any timelier. The four-time Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter appeared on the Monday (Nov. 2) episode of Late Night with Seth Meyers, performing “Talkin’ Bout A Revolution,” a song taken from her landmark 1988 self-titled album. On the eve of the 2020 Presidential election — in which Americans would decide to either re-elect Donald Trump or put Joe Biden in the White House – Tracy, 56, sang, “Poor people gonna rise up and get their share/ Poor people gonna rise up and take what’s theirs. … /It’s finally the tables are starting to turn / Talkin’ bout a revolution / It’s finally the tables are starting to turn / Talkin’ bout a revolution, oh no.”
Thank you to everyone who has messaged their support today 🗳 – Tracy Chapman Online pic.twitter.com/GbFuQ5JGjT
— Tracy Chapman (@tchapmanonline) November 3, 2020
At the end of the performance, Tracy changed the lyrics to, “It’s finally the tables are starting to turn /Talkin’ bout a revolution / Go Vote.” She then stepped away from the microphone to reveal a small sign bearing that same word: “vote.” She would later issue a statement, saying that “this is the most important election of our lifetime. It is imperative that everyone vote to restore our democracy.”
Seth Meyers also issued a statement on Tracy’s performance, per Harper’s Baazar, saying that He “always thought Tracy Chapman’s music skips your ears and goes straight to your heart. I’m so honored and excited to have her on the show. She’s living proof you can be a great artist while also speaking out for what you believe in.”
The world was a much different place the last time that Tracy was last seen performing on television. Before the Late Night appearance, her last performance was on a 2015 episode of The Late Show with David Letterman, per Stereogum. Tracy was on the program to promote her greatest hits album, and she covered Ben E. King’s “Stand By Me.” Since then, Tracy has been relatively quiet. Her only major noteworthy bit of news came in 2018 when she sued Nicki Minaj for an uncleared sample.
“Being in the public eye and under the glare of the spotlight was, and it still is, to some extent, uncomfortable for me,” she told the Irish Times in 2015, “but there are some ways by which everything that has happened in my life has prepared me for this career. But I am a bit shy. I’ve always loved poetry, music was always in the house, and there was such a range of different music around. My mother sang, my sister could sing, music was so much in the fabric of my life and upbringing. At the same time, I have this personality that is a bit on the reserved side and which had never really sought out the limelight. That has made me perhaps not the ideal person for this job.”