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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Other:. Ol' Dirty Bastard's death on November 13, 2004 should have a limited impact on the Clan, given that his involvement with the group had been very sporadic for many years. Genie Awards:. This renewed interest in the group fuelled rumors that another group album is on the way soon, although nothing concrete has been announced by the Clan themselves. Juno Awards:. The concert was released on DVD shortly afterwards, along with another greatest hits compilation. He made his motion picture debut in The Aviator and will also appear in the upcoming film, Heights. 2004 also saw the unexpected return of the Clan to the live stage, and minus Ol' Dirty Bastard and Method Man (who was filming the Fox sitcom Method & Red) they embarked on a short European tour, before coming together as a complete group for the first time in several years to headline the Rock The Bells festival in California.

His latest, a live iTunes Sessions EP entitled Alright Already is due for release in March 2005. The Pretty Toney Album was critically acclaimed in the mainstream press, and the independently released No Said Date was well-received by the group's hardcore fanbase and hip hop enthusiasts in general for its unpretentious, back-to-basics approach and in-house production. It is a companion to the 2003 release Want One. After GZA released Legend of the Liquid Sword in late 2002, the following two years saw a spate of new solo releases, including new works by Cappadonna (The Struggle), Method Man (Tical 0: The Prequel), Raekwon (The Lex Diamonds Story), Ghostface Killah (who, in his new contract with Def Jam Records, changed his pseudonym to simply Ghostface, and released The Pretty Toney Album), Inspectah Deck (The Movement), Masta Killa (No Said Date), Shyheim, Wu-Element producer Mathematics (Love, Hell & Right) and an untitled work by the ODB (recently released from prison, and then signed to Jay-Z and Damon Dash's Roc-a-Fella Records Label). 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. The group's latest album (as a group) was 2001 Iron Flag, made without the participation of the still-incarcerated Ol' Dirty Bastard, and which received mixed but mostly positive reviews. 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"). 2001 saw the release of Digital Bullet (the second RZA album released as Bobby Digital), Bulletproof Wallets (Ghostface Killah) and The Yin and the Yang (Cappadonna).

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. The W itself was mostly well-received by critics, particularly for RZA's production, and also gave the group a hit single with the uptempo Gravel Pit (which was supported by an extravagant faux-prehistoric Flintstones-inspired video). 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. Ol' Dirty Bastard managed to escape the club, but was captured by Philadelphia police and sent to New York to face charges of cocaine possession. In April, 2001, he was sentenced to two to four years in prison. He still often performs with his sister Martha Wainwright (now herself an emerging artist) on backup vocals. Almost finished with his rehab, Ol' Dirty Bastard escaped suddenly and spent one month on the run as a fugitive before showing up onstage at the record release party for The W, the group's new album. He has frequently toured as the opener for Sting and co-headlined with Ben Folds and Guster in the summer of 2004. In 2000 the group reconvened to make a new album: minus Ol' Dirty Bastard who was incarcerated in California for violating the terms of his probation.

He garnered great praise for his performance and began touring as a main act shortly afterwards. Fans also bemoaned the lack of RZA input on these albums, which were mostly produced by the Wu-Element producers, other lower-ranking affiliates or by outside producers such as the Trackmasters or the Neptunes. Wainwright's first main exposure to the American public came as an opener to singer Tori Amos in 2001 and 2002. Method Man and ODB were still quite popular, and the critics still fawned over GZA and Ghostface Killah, but their sound was becoming heavily imitated by others, and they were no longer superstars of hip hop. Wainwright's sophomore album, Poses (2001), brought similar acclaim. However, with a seemingly never-ending line of mostly poorly-received releases from affiliates such as Killarmy and Shyheim, a greatest hits album, as well as Wu-Tang branded clothing and video games, the market had been saturated with Wu-Tang products, and the second round of Clan member solo albums didn't do as well, either popularly or critically. 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. RZA also composed the score for the film Ghost Dog - The Way of the Samurai, directed by Jim Jarmusch, while he and other Wu-Tang members contributed music to a companion "music inspired by the film" album.

The label signed him and he relased an album in the spring of 1998. In the space of just three years, RZA's Bobby Digital In Stereo, Method Man's Tical 2000: Judgement Day, GZA's Beneath the Surface, Ol' Dirty Bastard's Nigga Please, U-God's Golden Arms Redemption, Raekwon's Immobilarity, Ghostface Killah's Supreme Clientele and Inspectah Deck's Uncontrolled Substance were all released. 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. In the midst of such problems, the Clan released yet more solo albums. He also became an enthusiast of such performers as Edith Piaf, Al Jolson and Judy Garland. The investigation never found significant evidence for the allegations. 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). The whole Wu-Tang Clan also fell under suspicion as alleged leaders of a gun-running scheme between Staten Island and Steubenville, Ohio.

Additionally, some of his songs feature his mastery of French. He was also in trouble for missing multiple court dates. 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. He was also arrested several times for a variety of offenses, including assault, making terrorist threats, shoplifting, wearing body armor after being convicted of a felony and possession of cocaine. Despite being born in the United States, Wainwright strongly identifies with Canada and still maintains a residence there. He then announced a name change to Big Baby Jesus, but never followed through. 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. At the Grammy Awards, he protested the Clan's loss (in Best Rap Album) by interrupting Shawn Colvin's acceptance speech.

Wainwright was born in Rhinebeck, New York to folk singers Loudon Wainwright III and Kate McGarrigle (they later divorced while he was a child). The same year, 1998, Ol' Dirty Bastard began a long career of erratic behavior, landing him in both the headlines and jail on a regular basis. Rufus Wainwright (born 22 July 1973) is a Canadian-American singer-songwriter. A compilation album, Wu-Tang Killa Bees: The Swarm, was also released showcasing more Wu-affiliated artists as well as including new solo tracks from the group members themselves. 2004 - Nominated, Shortlist Music Prize. The group's close associate Cappadonna, who first appeared on Raekwon's debut and was a large presence on both Ironman and Wu-Tang Forever, followed the group project with March 1998's The Pillage, and soon after Killah Priest (like Cappadonna a close associate of the Clan, though not an official member) released Heavy Mental to great critical acclaim. 1999 - Won, Debut Album of the Year, Gay/Lesbian American Music Awards. However, the live tour supporting the album was cancelled halfway through amid rumors of internal disputes.

1999 - Won, Oustanding Music Album, GLAAD Media Awards. The group members also appeared much more ambitious lyrically than on 36 Chambers, with many verses on the album being dense stream-of-consciousness narratives heavily influenced by the teachings of the Five Percent Nation. 1989 - Won, Best Original Song, "I'm A Runnin'". The sound of the album mostly built upon the sounds of the previous three solo albums, with RZA increasing his use of keyboards and string samples, as well as for the first time assigning much of the album's production to his proteges True Master and 4th Disciple (known as the "Wu-Elements"). 2002 - Won, Best Alternative Album, Poses. It was eagerly anticipated and entered the charts at number one ; no mean feat for an album that made very little attempt to have wide commercial appeal, and whose lead single Triumph was a five minutes plus nine-MC "posse cut" with no chorus. 2000 - Nominated, Best Songwriter; "Poses," "Cigarettes and Chocolate Milk," and "Grey Gardens". With solo careers established, the Wu-Tang Clan came back together to release the enormous double album Wu-Tang Forever in June 1997.

1999 - Won, Best Alternative Album, Rufus Wainwright. Although these albums were released as solo albums, the rule of RZA behind the boards and the large number of guest appearances from other Clan members (Raekwon and Ghostface's albums only had two or three actual solo tracks each and both included tracks which only included other Clan members and not themselves) means they are usually considered as important to the group's evolution as the group albums proper. 1990 - Nominated, Most Promising Male Vocalist of the Year. It was critically acclaimed and is still widely considered one of the best Wu-Tang solo albums. "I'll Build A Stairway To Paradise" - Soundtrack to the Motion Picture The Aviator (2004, Sony). Ghostface Killah released his own debut, Ironman, in 1996; it struck a balance between the sinister keyboard-laden textures of Liquid Swords and the sentimental soul samples of Cuban Linx, while Ghostface himself explored new territory as a lyricist. "I Eat Dinner" (with Dido) - Soundtrack to the Motion Picture Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason (2004, Geffen Records). The two 1995 solo albums remain widely regarded as two of the finest hip hop albums of the nineties.

"It's Only a Paper Moon" and "I Wonder What Became of Me" - Stormy Weather: The Music of Harold Arlen (2003, Sony). GZA's Liquid Swords had a similar focus on inner-city criminology to Only Built 4 Cuban Linx, yet was far darker, both in GZA's grim lyrics and in the ominous, forbidding production which saw RZA heavily reliant on keyboards for the first time. "When, in disgrace with fortune and men's eyes" - When Love Speaks (2002, EMI Classics). Raekwon the Chef's Only Built 4 Cuban Linx was a diverse, theatrical criminological epic that saw RZA move away from the raw, stripped-down beats of the early albums and towards a richer, cinematic sound more reliant on strings and classic soul samples. "Across the Universe" - Soundtrack to the Motion Picture I Am Sam (2002, V2/BMG). 1995 saw two significant and well-received albums from the group members. "He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother" - Soundtrack to the Motion Picture Zoolander (2001, Hollywood Records). Ol' Dirty Bastard found success soon after with Return to the 36 Chambers: the Dirty Version, which saw the 36 Chambers sound become even rawer and rough-edged.

"Hallelujah" - Soundtrack to the Motion Picture Shrek (2001, Dreamworks). RZA's hands-on approach to Tical, which extended beyond him merely creating the beats to devising song concepts and structure, would continue throughout the first round of solo projects from the Clan members. "Complainte de la Butte" - Soundtrack to the Motion Picture Moulin Rouge! (2001, Interscope). Method Man was the first member of Wu-Tang to hit stardom with his November 1994 solo album, Tical, produced by the RZA who continued with the grimy, raw textures he explored on 36 Chambers. "Instant Pleasure" - Soundtrack to the Motion Picture Big Daddy (1999, Sony). The Gravediggaz released 6 Feet Deep in August of 1994, which became easily the most famous work to emerge from hip hop's small sub-genre of horrorcore. - The McGarrigle Hour (1998). RZA was the first to follow up on the success of 36 Chambers with a side project, founding the Gravediggaz with Prince Paul (a producer, most famous for De La Soul), Frukwan (of Stetsasonic) and Poetic (of the Brothers Grimm).

"Shooldays", "What'll I Do?", "Heartburn", "Talk to Me of Mendocino", "Goodnight Sweetheart" and background vocals on various other tracks. Enter the Wu-Tang: 36 Chambers did indeed establish the group as a creative and influential rap group in the early nineties (it was released in 1993), allowing GZA, RZA, Raekwon, Method Man and Ol' Dirty Bastard to negotiate solo contracts. "Le Roi D'Ys" and "On the Banks of the Wabash" - Soundtrack to the Motion Picture The Myth of Fingerprints (1997). Though there was some difficulty in finding a record label that would sign the Wu-Tang Clan while still allowing each member to record solo albums with other labels, Loud/RCA finally agreed and the debut album Enter the Wu-Tang: 36 Chambers was popular and critically-acclaimed, though it took some time to gain momentum. "I'm Running" - Soundtrack to the Motion Picture Tommy Tricker and the Stamp Traveller (1989). The Wu-Tang Clan first became known to hip hop fans, and to major record labels, following the release of the independent single Protect Ya Neck, which immediately gave the group a sizeable underground following. Alright Already (EP; 2005, DreamWorks/Geffen) - available only on iTunes. The group have also developed various acronyms for the name (as hip hop pioneers like KRS One and Big Daddy Kane did with their names), including "Witty Unpredictable Talent And Natural Game" and "Wisdom, Universe, Truth, Allah, Nation, and God".

Want Two (2004, DreamWorks/Geffen). The name of the group itself originates from the Wudang (or Wu-Tang) Mountains in the Hubei province of China which are a traditional center of Chinese martial arts. Waiting for a Want (EP; 2004, DreamWorks) - available only on iTunes. The two cousins (GZA and RZA) created their rap nom-de-plumes by mimicking the sound that the words Genius and Robert would make when scratched on a turntable. Want One (2003, DreamWorks). The RZA is the producer of the group's albums, as well as many of their solo projects. The group quickly became known for hardcore violence, thumping, surreal beats and a warped sense of humor, all filtered through allusions to ancient Chinese folklore, mythic legend and martial arts film. Poses (2001, DreamWorks). The GZA is the de facto leader of the group, as well as being widely regarded as the best lyricist among the group.

Rufus Wainwright (1998, DreamWorks). The founders of the Wu-Tang Clan were GZA, Ol' Dirty Bastard and RZA (who also formed the by-then-defunct All In Together Now Crew). This was the plan from the group's inception: the group would make each of them famous enough to launch multiple side projects, and take over the hip-hop community through saturation of like-minded rappers. All of the nine members have released solo albums and have performed under several subprojects with other Wu-Tang "Family" members and musicians outside the Clan. There are nine original members of the Wu-Tang Clan.

The Wu-Tang Clan is a pioneering hardcore rap group, originally from Staten Island, New York, USA (Staten Island is referred to as "Shaolin" in their lyrics). 2004 Disciples of the 36 Chambers: Chapter 1 (Sanctuary). 2001 Iron Flag (Columbia). 2000 The W (Columbia).

1997 Wu-Tang Forever (Loud). 1993 Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) (Loud). UGodz-Illa. Lucky Hands.

Golden Arms. Four-Bar Killer. Baby Huey. Universal God of Law.

Baby U. 4-Bar Killer. U-God (birth name: Lamont Hawkins)

    . Ruler Zig-Zag-Zig-Allah.

    RZArecta (from resurrector - waking up the mentally dead). Prince Rakeem. Prince Dynamite. Prince Delight.

    the Scientist. Chief Abbot. The Abbot. Bobby Digital.

    Bobby Steels. RZA ("The Rizza") (birth name: Robert Diggs)

      . Shallah Raekwon. Louis Rich.

      Shallah. Rick Diamonds. Louis Diamonds. Lex Diamonds.

      Raekwon the Chef (short name: rae) (birth name: Corey Woods)

        . Ason Unique. Osirus. Ol' Dirty BZA.

        Joe Bannanas. Dirt Schultz. Cyrus. Unique Ason.

        Prince Delight. the Specialist. the Bebop Specialist. The Projessor.

        Dirt McGirt. Freeloading Rusty. Joe Bananas. Ol' Dirt Dog.

        Big Baby Jesus. Ol' Dirty Bastard (short name: ODB, dirty) (birth name: Russell Jones) (deceased)

          . Hot Nikkels. Iron Lung.

          Long John Silver. The Ghost Rider. Johnny Dangerous. John-John Blaizini.

          John-John McLane. Hot Nixon. Ticallion Stallion. Tical.

          The Panty Raider. Shakwon. MZA ("The Mizza"). Methtical (Meth-tical).

          Johnny Blaze (from the comic Ghost Rider). Method Man (short name: meth) (birth name: Clifford Smith)

            . Noodles. Jamel Irief.

            High Chief. Masta Killa (short name: masta) (from the film Shaolin Master Killer) (birth name: Elgin Turner)

              . Rollie Fingers. Charliehorse.

              Manifesto. Ayatollah. Rebel INS. Fifth Brother.

              Inspectah Deck (short name: ins, deck) (birth name: Jason Hunter)

                . Maximillion. The Head. The Scientist.

                Justice. Allah Justice. The Genius. GZA (pronounced "The Jizza") (birth name: Gary Grice)

                  .

                  Ghost Deini. Black Jesus. Ironman (from the comic Iron Man). Wally Champ.

                  Starkey Love. General Tony Starks. Tone-Tanna. Pretty Toney.

                  Ghostface. Tony Starks (from the comic Iron Man). Sun God. Ghostface Killah (short: ghost) (birth name: Dennis Coles)

                    .

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