When Tracy Chapman released her self-titled, debut album back in 1988, the 24-year old singer was widely praised for her acute observations on the struggles of working class Americans. The album was political and, for some, possessed the kind of anthems that could spark a revolution. Not long after releasing her album, Chapman sat down with NPR's Margot Adler to talk about both the singer's growing popularity and her battle against stereotypes as a black woman with a strong voice in the predominantly white world of modern folk.
Today, March 30, is Chapman's birthday, so we've pulled that interview out of our archives. You can hear that 1988 conversation, which originally aired on All Things Considered, with the play button at the top of the page. It's worth a listen. Much of what Chapman says about the subversion of ignorance, misplaced values and her calls for unity feel as timely as it must have nearly 30 years ago.