Sunday, July 22, 2018

Happy Birthday to Singer/Songwriter Rufus Wainwright

Photograph: Suki Dhanda for the Observer
Rufus Wainwright was born today, July 22, in 1973. He 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 (2003) and Want Two (2004), 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 (2010) and Out of the Game (2012). The double album Prima Donna (2015), was a recording of his opera of the same name. His ninth studio album Take All My Loves: 9 Shakespeare Sonnets (2016), 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 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."

At age 14, Wainwright was sexually assaulted in London's Hyde Park after picking up a man at a bar. In an interview years later, he described the event: "I said I wanted to go to the park and see where this big concert was going on. I thought it was going to be a romantic walk in the park, but he raped me and robbed me afterwards and tried to strangle me." Wainwright states that he survived only by pretending to be an epileptic and faking a seizure. He has been reported to have stated that he remained celibate for 5 or 7 years after the incident, and eventually became promiscuous.

Wainwright became addicted to crystal meth in the early 2000s and temporarily lost his vision. His addiction reached its peak in 2002, during what he described as "the most surreal week of my life." During that week, he played a cameo role in the UK comedy television program Absolutely Fabulous, spent several nights partying with George W. Bush's daughter Barbara, enjoyed a "debauched evening" with his mother and Marianne Faithfull, sang with Anohni of Antony and the Johnsons for Zaldy's spring 2003 collection, and experienced recurring hallucinations of his father throughout. He decided after that he "was either going to rehab or I was going to live with my father. I knew I needed an asshole to yell at me, and I felt he fit the bill."



In late 2010 Wainwright became engaged to his partner Jörn Weisbrodt (right). The couple moved to Toronto, Ontario in early 2012 after Weisbrodt was named artistic director of Toronto's annual Luminato festival. On August 23, 2012 Rufus Wainwright and Weisbrodt married in Montauk, New York. 

In 2011, Wainwright announced that he and childhood friend Lorca Cohen, daughter of Leonard Cohen, had had a child in a parenting partnership. He announced on his website: "Darling daughter Viva Katherine Wainwright Cohen was born on February 2, 2011 in Los Angeles, California to proud parents Lorca Cohen, Rufus Wainwright, and Deputy Dad Jorn Weisbrodt. The little angel is evidently healthy, presumably happy, and certainly very very beautiful."

1 comment:

Raybeard said...

Still quite hot, even now through his 'frosty' whiskers.