Leading up to the 2023 CMA Awards, many fans wondered if the Country Music Association might've enlisted Tracy Chapman for a surprise duet with Luke Combs during the show. After all, she's the writer and original performer of "Fast Car," a song that won two CMA trophies during the show on Wednesday night (Nov. 8) thanks to Combs' cover version.

Chapman didn't wind up attending the show. As a nominee, of course, she must have been invited. However, while he was backstage speaking with press, Combs fielded a question about whether or not a duet performance was ever in the offing.

"Not that I'm aware of," he responded. "I don't know if that happened or not. I think that would have been super cool."

"If it happened, no one told me about it," Combs added with a laugh.

"Fast Car" won in two categories — Song of the Year and Single of the Year — and though Chapman could be there to accept her trophies in person, she sent a short message of gratitude that presenter Sara Evans read from the podium after announcing the winner.

Chapman's wins were historic: She became the first Black songwriter to win CMA Song of the Year on Wednesday night.

"I think she was a trend-setting, barrier-breaking artist when she came out, and she's continuing to do that. I think tonight is proof of that," Combs said, acknowledging the milestone, before fielding a question about what he'd say to Chapman if she were at the awards show with him.

"I'd just say, 'Congrats,' man. I'd say, 'Thank you for writing one of my favorite songs ever,'" Combs reflected. "I didn't record this song for recognition. I didn't record it to try to have a career moment. I recorded it because I love music and I love what that song has meant for me throughout my entire life.

"It's a song that reminds me of my dad, and a song that I'll play for my son, and a song that will go down in my history, too," he continued. "... So I would tell her 'Thank you,' and 'Congratulations.'"

Luke Combs + Wife Nicole Look Ravishing in Red on the 2023 CMAs Carpet

Luke Combs and his wife Nicole stepped out at the 2023 CMA Awards, walking the carpet with semi-matching outfits in shades of red.

Gallery Credit: Carena Liptak

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