About Rufus Wainwright
Rufus McGarrigle Wainwright is an American-Canadian singer, songwriter, and composer. He has recorded seven albums of original music and numerous tracks on compilations and film soundtracks. He has also written a classical opera and set Shakespeare sonnets to music for a theater piece by Robert Wilson.
Wainwright's self-titled debut album was released through DreamWorks Records in May 1998. His second album, Poses, was released in June 2001. Wainwright's third and fourth studio albums, Want One and Want Two , were repackaged as the double album Want in 2005. In 2007, Wainwright released his fifth studio album Release the Stars and his first live album Rufus Does Judy at Carnegie Hall. His second live album Milwaukee at Last!!! was released in 2009, followed by the studio albums All Days Are Nights: Songs for Lulu and Out of the Game . The double album Prima Donna , was a recording of his opera of the same name. His ninth studio album Take All My Loves: 9 Shakespeare Sonnets , featured nine adaptions of Shakespeare's sonnets.
Wainwright is the son of musicians Loudon Wainwright III and Kate McGarrigle, and the older brother of singer Martha Wainwright.
Wainwright was born in Rhinebeck, New York, to folk singers Kate McGarrigle and Loudon Wainwright III. His parents divorced when he was three, and he lived with his mother in Montreal for most of his youth. His father is a descendant of Peter Stuyvesant, the 17th century Dutch governor of New Amsterdam, later New York. Wainwright has dual US and Canadian citizenship. He attended high school at the Millbrook School in New York , and later briefly studied piano at McGill in Montreal. He began playing the piano at age six, and started touring at age 13 with "The McGarrigle Sisters and Family", a folk group featuring Rufus, his sister Martha, his mother Kate, and aunt Anna. His song "I'm a-Runnin'", which he performed in the film Tommy Tricker and the Stamp Traveller at the age of 14, earned him a nomination for a 1989 Genie Award for Best Original Song. He was nominated for a 1990 Juno Award for Most Promising Male Vocalist of the Year.
Wainwright identified as gay while a teenager. In 1999, he told Rolling Stone that his father recognized his homosexuality early on. "We'd drive around in the car, he'd play 'Heart of Glass' and I'd sort of mouth the words, pretend to be Blondie. Just a sign of many other things to come as well." Wainwright later said in another interview that his "mother and father could not even handle me being gay. We never talked about it really."
Wainwright became interested in opera during his adolescent years, and the genre strongly influences his music. During this time, he became interested in Édith Piaf, Al Jolson, and Judy Garland. As a youth he trained at Interlochen Arts Camp, studying classical music.
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