Solution Graphics



On “Sing For You,” the upbeat opening track of Our Bright Future, Tracy Chapman – now marking her 20th year as a recording artist – briefly yet fondly looks back at the way music has shaped her life. Throughout most of her eighth studio album, however, Chapman remains very much rooted in the present, addressing political and/or social conflicts in the world as well as private skirmishes of the heart. She gracefully melds simple, small-band arrangements with powerful universal emotions, and over the course of eleven songs reveals layers of meaning, both troubling and hopeful, in the album title she has chosen.

While making her last album, 2005’s Where You Live, Chapman remained in her adopted home of San Francisco, creating an ad-hoc studio out of a rehearsal space. This time, she spent two months in Los Angeles with co-producer Larry Klein and a multi-generational crew of sought-after session players, recording at Henson Studios on the storied lot once owned by Charlie Chaplin and later A&M Records. It was an auspicious locale for Chapman at this milestone juncture in her career: the lot, where Chapman previously made her 1992 album, Matters of the Heart, now houses production suites and studios for many artists whom she has worked with or encountered over the last two decades. As she recalls, “It was as if I were taking my turn on This Is Your Life. Around every corner was someone that I knew in some way.” In fact, Klein, a 2007 Album of the Year Grammy recipient for his co-production of Herbie Hancock’s River: The Joni Letters, had played bass on Chapman’s debut disc as well as its follow-up, Crossroads, and subsequent efforts. Chapman says, “He’s a great musician and he’s also very funny, which is something I had always remembered. From years of being in the studio, I’ve come to understand that the process is as important as the result. I wanted to have fun making this record, and it’s always good to have someone who will find the humor in a situation when you have a moment of stress, and who can give everyone some perspective. Larry and I always got along that way.”

For longtime fans, “Sing For You” may evoke memories of the first time they heard Chapman’s riveting, forthright voice back in 1988 when she appeared seemingly out of nowhere to shake up the radio airwaves and MTV with her storytelling prowess, inspiring a modern revival of the socially conscious, singer-songwriter movement. For Chapman herself, she’s reaching even farther back on the song, channeling something deeper, more all-encompassing: “People have asked, who is it for, who were you singing to? For me, I was remembering so many different occasions, either when someone sang for me or I was singing – maybe to the songs on the radio with my friends or my sister, or singing in the car, or being at a party dancing. It could be a about a parent singing to a child. All those things came to mind.” Other tracks may also seem intriguingly autobiographical, but Chapman is always aiming for a larger point, a common connection with her listeners. After completing the album, Chapman prepared to leave for Europe on her first solo tour in a decade. Commanding a stage entirely on her own reminds us why we were so immediately drawn to her 20 years ago. Our Bright Future – with its questions and challenges, as well as its hopes for better times ahead – illustrates why we always return.


Visit artist website at

Copyright © 2012 Entertainers Resource Directory All rights reserved.