Top 73 Tracy Chapman Quotes

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“We all must live our lives always feeling, always thinking the moment has arrived.”

― Tracy Chapman

“Songwriting is a very mysterious process. It feels like creating something from nothing. It’s something I don’t feel like I really control.”

― Tracy Chapman

“When we started making ‘Where You Live’, I bought a bunch of Polaroid cameras in so that people could record the experience. Some of those pictures are in the CD sleeve.”

― Tracy Chapman

“People’s real hopes and dreams can be distorted and misdirected and packaged until you’re not sure what you really want or what you even really need.”

― Tracy Chapman

“At this point in my life I’d like to live as if only love mattered.”

― Tracy Chapman

“I can’t think of anything worse, really, than to try to live up to someone else’s expectations of what you should be. You don’t make art by consensus.”

― Tracy Chapman

“Maybe it’s naive to say, but it almost seems like, in the past, people tried to sell you something you would actually need, like a hammer or a broom or a toothbrush. But now there’s this notion that they can sell you anything. And all they have to do is convince you that you need it.”

― Tracy Chapman

“I meet people in my daily life, people who seem to experience some change and some growth on a personal level, and that gives me hope.”

― Tracy Chapman

“There are some concerns that are universal. Everyone wants to be loved, and everyone wants to feel like they belong somewhere in the world. Everyone wants to do something and feel like they have a sense of purpose. These are just the things that I think about and the things that make their way into my songwriting.”

― Tracy Chapman

“I love living in California and being able to go to the beach or go to the woods.”

― Tracy Chapman

“We have more media than ever and more technology in our lives. It’s supposed to help us communicate, but it has the opposite effect of isolating us.”

― Tracy Chapman

“So much has happened to obscure the dialogue about race and about gender and discrimination in general, especially where those things touch on economics.”

― Tracy Chapman

“Everyone is looking for connections between the songs. I don’t usually approach a record as a concept. There’s no overriding theme I’m trying to represent. It’s all about the individual songs.”

― Tracy Chapman

“My older sister encouraged me from early on and bought me one of the first guitars I had. She listened to all of the crappy songs that I wrote when I was 8 years old and encouraged me to keep doing it.”

― Tracy Chapman

“Some things remain fragments, just the lyrics and melodies or a line or two or a verse.”

― Tracy Chapman

“As a child, I spent a lot of time at the library.”

― Tracy Chapman

“I was raised in a Baptist tradition, but then I went to an Episcopalian high school, and they were very accepting of people of all faiths.”

― Tracy Chapman

“You have to pay attention to the moment and make it the best it can be for you. I’ve been trying to do that. It’s really made a major difference for me. I’m a happier person.”

― Tracy Chapman

“Stand up for yourself and fight for your right to be the artist that you want to be. There’s plenty of pressure from outside; people tell you how to dress and how to sing or what to sing, but I always felt like if I’m going to fail or succeed, I want to do it on my own terms.”

― Tracy Chapman

“I learn all these things about the record talking about it after it’s finished.”

― Tracy Chapman

“I mentioned that I received a scholarship to Episcopalian school, and the model for the school was ‘From each according to his or her ability and to each according to his or her need.’ And it’s something that is still really important to me in thinking about how I prioritize what I do with my life.”

― Tracy Chapman

“I may be revered or defamed and decried; But I tried to live my life right.”

― Tracy Chapman

“After it’s finished, sometimes I can trace a path that goes back to the possible source of inspiration.”

― Tracy Chapman

“I dressed up as a veterinarian for a Halloween costume party. I had the lab coat. I got a couple of stuffed animals for patients and put bandages on them.”

― Tracy Chapman

“I end up writing about all kinds of things. I never make an attempt to write about anything in particular. I don’t have a little list of topics to write about.”

― Tracy Chapman

“I often write either really early in the morning, or really late at night.”

― Tracy Chapman

“I see some recurring themes: things that feel threaded together, some symbolic references, and songs about some of the big questions, like death. There are a lot of references to weather, too!”

― Tracy Chapman

“Love’s a recurring theme through my work.”

― Tracy Chapman

“The songs are not necessarily autobiographical. A lot of songs are a combination of influences. It might be some part of my life, or something I’ve felt, or something somebody’s told me. It all comes together.”

― Tracy Chapman

“When you feel like you’ve had a good show, you go backstage and you talk to yourself about it, and if you have a bad show you talk to yourself about it.”

― Tracy Chapman

“With other people, you’re always swapping music. Somebody is always listening to something you’ve never heard. It’s a great way to hear all sorts of new things.”

― Tracy Chapman

“I’m a hopeful cynic.”

― Tracy Chapman

“Growing up in Cleveland, I learned about singing from my mother, who had once sung professionally and who admired Mahalia Jackson and Aretha Franklin.”

― Tracy Chapman

“I picked up the guitar at 11, but even before then, I was writing songs on the organ.”

― Tracy Chapman

“The way popular music is categorized and formatted cuts down on everyone’s options. And although people don’t talk about it, there are a lot of issues of race determining musical categories of what’s rock, R&B, or even folk. It ends up restricting creativity.”

― Tracy Chapman

“I think it’s important, if you are an artist, to use your music to stand up for what you believe in.”

― Tracy Chapman

“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.”

― Tracy Chapman

“I’m still thinking and hoping there’s an opportunity for people to have better lives and that significant change can occur.”

― Tracy Chapman

“I found myself in the middle of a race riot when I was about 14 years old, and I found someone pointing a gun at me and telling me to run or they’d shoot me.”

― Tracy Chapman

“I don’t try to project any image at all, other than the person that I am.”

― Tracy Chapman

“I think of the audience the way I would think of another person: You meet someone, then you take it from there; you see what’s interesting to both of you.”

― Tracy Chapman

“I never assumed I would have that commercial success, so it was a total surprise. And honestly, I never assumed that it would ever happen again.”

― Tracy Chapman

“Music was never just a hobby for me. I’d pick up a guitar every day to work on whatever I was writing at the time. I would put my ideas in songs the way some people might put them in diaries or journals.”

― Tracy Chapman

“What does the future look like if the heads of society ask our young people to risk their lives for questionable causes? I think it looks rather bleak.”

― Tracy Chapman

“Men are able to sustain a career into their 50s and 60s and still present themselves as sex symbols. With women, on the other hand, people say, ‘Why doesn’t she retire?’”

― Tracy Chapman

“There are good reasons for being in jail – for protesting.”

― Tracy Chapman

“As you might imagine, I’m approached by lots of organizations and lots of people who want me to support their various charitable efforts in some way. And I look at those requests, and I basically try to do what I can.”

― Tracy Chapman

“If you are living a life that feels right to you, if you’re willing to take creative chances or a creative path that feels like it’s mostly in keeping with your sensibilities, you know, aesthetic and artistic, then that’s what matters.”

― Tracy Chapman

“I think many people would say that writers like Stephen King have hypergraphia.”

― Tracy Chapman

“I’m not sure about anything as far as religion and spirituality go.”

― Tracy Chapman

“A lot of kids spent more time out of school than in, but I always loved school and thought it was my way out of Cleveland, and out of poverty.”

― Tracy Chapman

“It’s fun playing small venues.”

― Tracy Chapman

“I don’t know – I’m not sure about anything as far as religion and spirituality go.”

― Tracy Chapman

“I think religion played a huge part in Bush’s re-election.”

― Tracy Chapman

“I grew up with music in the house. I was told I could sing as soon as I started talking. Everybody in my family sang, always lots of records, blues and jazz and soul, R&B, you know, like Mahalia Jackson, Aretha Franklin, Coltrane, that kind of thing.”

― Tracy Chapman

“I started playing and writing songs when I was eight.”

― Tracy Chapman

“Honestly, I think, as an artist, it’s everything that’s in your life that informs what you do. So, obviously, growing up in Cleveland has played a big role in how I see the world.”

― Tracy Chapman

“It all comes together. It’s – that’s the way it’s always worked for me with songwriting.”

― Tracy Chapman

“I had a ukulele when I was much younger. I have no idea what happened to it but I think that was part of it, just being inspired and wanting to try to play an instrument that, to me, sounded beautiful.”

― Tracy Chapman

“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.”

― Tracy Chapman

“We do need to think about how we have security – everyone has a right to that – but we also need to think about how we maintain civil rights and personal freedom.”

― Tracy Chapman

“I never travelled when I was younger.”

― Tracy Chapman

“My first record was almost not my first record.”

― Tracy Chapman

“There have been some gains made in terms of more equality for women in the workplace and in the way the legal system deals with issues of violence against women.”

― Tracy Chapman

“As I started to consider a career in music, I hoped for success, truthfully. I didn’t imagine anything that would amass the level of the first record, but I hoped that I would be able to sustain a career.”

― Tracy Chapman

“You need to keep something for yourself. As a writer, I feel that even more strongly. I feel like I need to be able to freely observe the world. That’s the way I like to move through the world; I don’t need to be the focus of attention. If I am, it impairs my ability to write and to do what I do.”

― Tracy Chapman

“That’s one of the things I like about San Francisco. It’s not like anywhere else in the world.”

― Tracy Chapman

“I decided to do whatever I could to make sure the business side of music didn’t intrude on the creative part.”

― Tracy Chapman

“There’s a time and place for everything, and my focus is music. So that’s what I prefer to spend most of my time doing, and not talk about making music.”

― Tracy Chapman

“I could make records at home in a vacuum, but that is not the situation. I’m just taking it one phase at a time.”

― Tracy Chapman

“I won’t get into it any more than to say that there are parts of me in all the songs that I write.”

― Tracy Chapman

“I always considered trying to make a living playing music. But it was always really clear to me, at the various stages in my life, that it really wasn’t a possibility unless some phenomenal thing happened.”

― Tracy Chapman

“One of the reasons I chose Tufts is that they have one of the best veterinary schools in the country. Since I was six years old, I wanted to be a veterinarian.”

― Tracy Chapman
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