Rufus Wainwright

Rufus Wainwright (born 22 July 1973) is a Canadian-American singer-songwriter.

Biography

Wainwright was born in Rhinebeck, New York to folk singers Loudon Wainwright III and Kate McGarrigle (they later divorced while he was a child). He began to play the piano at age six, and by age thirteen he was touring with his sister Martha, mother Kate (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kate_McGarrigle), and aunt Anna as the "McGarrigle Sisters and Family." His song "I'm Running," which he performed in the movie Tommy Tricker and the Stamp Traveller, was nominated for the 1989 Genie Award for Best Original Song and earned him a nomination for the 1990 Juno Award for Most Promising Male Vocalist.

Despite being born in the United States, Wainwright strongly identifies with Canada and still maintains a residence there. He lived in Montreal with his mother for most of his childhood and briefly attended McGill University, where he studied both classical and 'rock' piano. Additionally, some of his songs feature his mastery of French.

Coming out as a homosexual while still a teen, Wainwright found solace through opera throughout his adolescent years (His track Barcelona features lyrics of Guiseppi Verdi). He also became an enthusiast of such performers as Edith Piaf, Al Jolson and Judy Garland.

After having been a fixture on the Montreal club circuit, Wainwright cut a series of demo tapes, one of which found itself in the hands of DreamWorks executive Lenny Waronker. The label signed him and he relased an album in the spring of 1998. This album landed much critical acclaim in Canada, and was even recognized by Rolling Stone magazine as one of the best albums of the year. Wainwright's sophomore album, Poses (2001), brought similar acclaim.

Wainwright's first main exposure to the American public came as an opener to singer Tori Amos in 2001 and 2002. He garnered great praise for his performance and began touring as a main act shortly afterwards. He has frequently toured as the opener for Sting and co-headlined with Ben Folds and Guster in the summer of 2004. He still often performs with his sister Martha Wainwright (now herself an emerging artist) on backup vocals.

In addition to being a pianist, Wainwright is a guitarist, often switching between the two instruments when performing live; however, his mastery of the guitar does not approach his talent with the piano. While some of his most moving songs feature just Wainwright with his piano, many of his songs display complex layering and harmonies, occasionally comprising hundreds of individual parts. Wainwright is an avid opera fan, and the influences on his music are evident; his music has been described as "Popera" (Pop Opera) or "Baroque Pop." His lyrics are filled with allusions to opera, literature, pop culture, and, more recently, politics (in songs such as "Gay Messiah" and "Waiting for a Dream").

Rufus Wainwright playing in London in 2004. By Matt Whitby

Wainwright's newest album, Want Two, of which four songs were released as the EP Waiting for a Want, was released from DreamWorks/Geffen on November 16, 2004. It is a companion to the 2003 release Want One. His latest, a live iTunes Sessions EP entitled Alright Already is due for release in March 2005. He made his motion picture debut in The Aviator and will also appear in the upcoming film, Heights.

Discography

Albums

  • Rufus Wainwright (1998, DreamWorks)
  • Poses (2001, DreamWorks)
  • Want One (2003, DreamWorks)
  • Waiting for a Want (EP; 2004, DreamWorks) - available only on iTunes
  • Want Two (2004, DreamWorks/Geffen)
  • Alright Already (EP; 2005, DreamWorks/Geffen) - available only on iTunes

Contributions

  • "I'm Running" - Soundtrack to the Motion Picture Tommy Tricker and the Stamp Traveller (1989)
  • "Le Roi D'Ys" and "On the Banks of the Wabash" - Soundtrack to the Motion Picture The Myth of Fingerprints (1997)
  • "Shooldays", "What'll I Do?", "Heartburn", "Talk to Me of Mendocino", "Goodnight Sweetheart" and background vocals on various other tracks. - The McGarrigle Hour (1998)
  • "Instant Pleasure" - Soundtrack to the Motion Picture Big Daddy (1999, Sony)
  • "Complainte de la Butte" - Soundtrack to the Motion Picture Moulin Rouge! (2001, Interscope)
  • "Hallelujah" - Soundtrack to the Motion Picture Shrek (2001, Dreamworks)
  • "He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother" - Soundtrack to the Motion Picture Zoolander (2001, Hollywood Records)
  • "Across the Universe" - Soundtrack to the Motion Picture I Am Sam (2002, V2/BMG)
  • "When, in disgrace with fortune and men's eyes" - When Love Speaks (2002, EMI Classics)
  • "It's Only a Paper Moon" and "I Wonder What Became of Me" - Stormy Weather: The Music of Harold Arlen (2003, Sony)
  • "I Eat Dinner" (with Dido) - Soundtrack to the Motion Picture Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason (2004, Geffen Records)
  • "I'll Build A Stairway To Paradise" - Soundtrack to the Motion Picture The Aviator (2004, Sony)

Awards and nominations

Juno Awards:

  • 1990 - Nominated, Most Promising Male Vocalist of the Year
  • 1999 - Won, Best Alternative Album, Rufus Wainwright
  • 2000 - Nominated, Best Songwriter; "Poses," "Cigarettes and Chocolate Milk," and "Grey Gardens"
  • 2002 - Won, Best Alternative Album, Poses

Genie Awards:

  • 1989 - Won, Best Original Song, "I'm A Runnin'"

Other:

  • 1999 - Won, Oustanding Music Album, GLAAD Media Awards
  • 1999 - Won, Debut Album of the Year, Gay/Lesbian American Music Awards
  • 2004 - Nominated, Shortlist Music Prize

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Wainwright was born in Rhinebeck, New York to folk singers Loudon Wainwright III and Kate McGarrigle (they later divorced while he was a child). X is a symbol worn on the hand to denote that someone is straight edge. Rufus Wainwright (born 22 July 1973) is a Canadian-American singer-songwriter. In sociology X denotes Generation X. 2004 - Nominated, Shortlist Music Prize. In semiotics, an X over something denotes elimination, prohibition or erasure. 1999 - Won, Debut Album of the Year, Gay/Lesbian American Music Awards. In Roman numerals, X denotes ten.

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1999 - Won, Best Alternative Album, Rufus Wainwright. In U.S. 1990 - Nominated, Most Promising Male Vocalist of the Year. In Canada, X stands for Nunavut and the Northwest Territories. "I'll Build A Stairway To Paradise" - Soundtrack to the Motion Picture The Aviator (2004, Sony). As the first letter of a postal code,

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      "Hallelujah" - Soundtrack to the Motion Picture Shrek (2001, Dreamworks). In physics, the X-ray is a form of electromagnetic radiation. "Complainte de la Butte" - Soundtrack to the Motion Picture Moulin Rouge! (2001, Interscope). In photography X denotes exact time in flash synchronization. "Instant Pleasure" - Soundtrack to the Motion Picture Big Daddy (1999, Sony). In military science, X is the US Navy hull classification symbol for Submersible Craft. - The McGarrigle Hour (1998). x means 10 in Roman numbers.

      "Shooldays", "What'll I Do?", "Heartburn", "Talk to Me of Mendocino", "Goodnight Sweetheart" and background vocals on various other tracks. x is the usual symbol for the variable represented on the horizontal axis (ordinate) in analytic geometry. "Le Roi D'Ys" and "On the Banks of the Wabash" - Soundtrack to the Motion Picture The Myth of Fingerprints (1997). This usage can be traced back to the Arabic word ?ay 'thing' which was spelled with an initial x in Old Spanish or (according to other sources) an abbreviation of Latin causa which was the translation of Arabic š. "I'm Running" - Soundtrack to the Motion Picture Tommy Tricker and the Stamp Traveller (1989). Even though any letter can be used, x is the most common by far. Alright Already (EP; 2005, DreamWorks/Geffen) - available only on iTunes. x commonly represents an unknown variable.

      Want Two (2004, DreamWorks/Geffen). In mathematics,

        . Waiting for a Want (EP; 2004, DreamWorks) - available only on iTunes. In gender XX denotes female in the XY sex-determination system. Want One (2003, DreamWorks). In genetics X denotes the X chromosome.
          . Poses (2001, DreamWorks). In games, X is representation for a cross in games like tic tac toe (naughts and crosses).

          Rufus Wainwright (1998, DreamWorks). In financial securities, X is the stock symbol for United States Steel Corporation. The X-Files was a popular 1990s American science fiction television series. X is the name of a 1928 German film; see X (film). Australia retains the X rating.

          The UK replaced the X rating with the 18 certificate. X is a rating given to films suitable for an adult-only audience; see X-rated. NC-17 has replaced the X rating in the US. In film

            . In American slang, X is often used as an abbreviation of ecstasy (MDMA), a synthetic drug.

            X also serves as other abbreviations, such as Xtal (Crystal), reXn (reaction), Xlation (translation), and SXSW (South by Southwest Festival). X is an abbreviation for cross in words like Xing (crossing), or to sign with a cross (often for illiteracy). (See Hugs and Kisses.). X is a symbol for a kiss, as in love notes.

            X is an abbreviation for Christ, as in Xmas (Christmas), X(t)ian (Christian), and Xianity (Christianity). In English,

              . In electrical engineering, X is the symbol for reactance. In French education, X is a nickname for the École Polytechnique.

              x is the repetition operator in Perl programming language. X is used as an abbreviation for the Apple operating system Mac OS X. The data transfer speed for 1X CDs is 153,600 bytes/second and one for 1X DVDs is 1,385,000 bytes/second (approximately 9.02 times faster). This usage is a corruption of the multiplication symbol ×.

              X is often used as a symbol of multiplication, as in denoting the spin (and, later, transfer) speed of CDs and DVDs compared to an original standard speed. X is the name of a free graphical windowing system developed at MIT and standard on Unix and Linux; see X Window System. In computing:

                . In clothing X is used as an abbreviation for extra, such as XXL for extra-extra-large or XM for extra-medium.

                In cabalistic philosophy X references both birth and death. In beverages, X is a symbol for an alcoholic proof of 50; multiple Xes indicate multiples of 50. In astronomy, Planet X is a hypothetical planet in the Solar System beyond the orbit of Pluto. In art X alludes to the infinite joy of creation.

                In anime, X is the title of a series based on the manga X/1999 (see X (anime)). It is also a prefix to experimental types of US military aircraft, for instance, the XB-70. In aeronautics, X is the designation given to an experimental aircraft of the US government, for instance, the X-1 rocketplane that first broke the sound barrier. Members of the Nation of Islam change their surnames to "X" to symbolize that their African names were lost in slavery, an example is Malcolm X.

                In a general sense, X represents an unknown or secret, as in project X or mister X.

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