Tracy Chapman was discovered in 1987 by fellow Tufts University student Brian Koppelman. “I was helping organize a boycott protest against apartheid at school, and someone told me there was this great protest singer I should get to play at the rally,” says Koppelman, who now works in A&R at Elektra. He went to see Chapman perform at a coffeehouse called Cappuccino. “Tracy walked onstage, and it was like an epiphany,” he says. “Her presence, her voice, her songs, her sincerity — it all came across.”
Koppelman approached Chapman after the performance and said, “I don’t normally do this, but I think my father could help you a lot.” (Charles Koppelman, his father, was then co-owner of SBK Publishing, one of the largest independent song publishers in the world.) Chapman listened politely but didn’t say much and went on her way.
Undaunted, Koppelman continued attending her shows, sitting in the front row. Although Chapman finally agreed to talk, she declined to cut any demos for him. Then Koppelman found out that Chapman had already recorded some demos at the Tufts radio station, WMFO, for copyright purposes. (In exchange, the station got to broadcast her songs.) Koppelman went to the station, and while a friend distracted the DJ, he lifted one of the tapes. It had one song, “Talkin’ Bout a Revolution,” on it. He made a copy and took it to his father. “He immediately got the picture and flew up to see her,” Koppelman says.
Chapman’s demo tape with SBK led to a signing with Elektra. “I have to say that I never thought I would get a contract with a major record label,” she told an interviewer shortly after the album’s release. “All the time since I was a kid listening to records and the radio, I didn’t think there was any indication that record people would find the kind of music that I did marketable. Especially when I was singing songs like ‘Talkin’ Bout a Revolution’ during the Seventies. . . . I didn’t see a place for me there.” (takenn from the Tracy Chapman website)
And here are these demo recordings … Tracy Chapman pure … another chance to discover one of the finest ladiey in music !
It is labeled 1987 but a source who knows a bit about Tracy Chapman history believes
these might have been recorded in 1986 in Medford MA at WMFO studios
at Tufts University where Tracy was going to school.
The tape was probably circulated locally in conjunction with a few shows
she was doing in Boston at that time. It was before her debut was recorded.
Tracy Chapman as a street musician in 1985
Tracy Chapman (vocals, guitar)
01. Baby Can I Hold You 3.00
02. Talkin’ ’bout A Revolution 2.59
03. This Time 3.50
04. Mountain O’ Things 4.47
05. For You 3.28
All songs written by Tracy Chapman