Rufus Wainwright (full name Rufus McGarrigle Wainwright) was born 22nd July 1973 and is from Rhinebeck, New York. His parents Kate McGarrigle and Loudon Wainwright III were folk singers and encouraged him to participate in music at an early age.
Aged three, Rufus Wainwright’s parents divorced and he moved to Quebec, Montreal with his mother, where he was taught to play the piano and he then toured with his mother, sister and aunt as “The McGarrigle Sisters and Family,” where he received critical acclaim and two awards nominations for his performance of his own song “I’m Running” which was used in the film Tommy Tricker and the Stamp Traveller.
In his early career, Rufus Wainwright worked his way up the Montreal club circuit where his talents were recognised when he produced a demo and it was passed into the hands of DreamWorks record executive Lenny Waronker who signed him to the label.
In a whirlwind adventure, Rufus Wainwright headed to LA where he recorded his eponymous debut album and spent two years recording the album at a huge cost of nearly a million dollars. The album was released in 1998 where he received a string of praise and was nominated for a number of cool music awards as well as a Canadian Juno Award for his music.
After the success of his first album, Rufus Wainwright toured with John Lennon’s son Sean Lennon for a year, and gained publicity by appearing in a Gap clothes commercial which fuelled him to move to New York where he lived extravagantly and spent six months writing music for his second album Poses which was released in 2001.Throughout his career Rufus Wainwright had been open about his sexuality and his bohemian upbringing which heavily influenced his song writing and musical style.
Rupert Wainwright went through a period turbulence as his career peaked in the early 2000s, but he managed to get back on track with his music and released a succession of albums, Want One (2003) and Want Two (2004) which were largely autobiographical. These were accompanied with an iTunes interview and as well as a Leonard Cohen cover of "Chelsea Hotel No. 2".
Further success with sold out shows at Carnegie Hall of his Judy Garland performance in New York in 2006, London Palladium and Hollywood Bowl secured his place as a top singer and showman. He later released his fifth studio album Release the Stars (2007) which was truly a family affair and featured his sister and mother as well as Pet Shop Boys executive producer Neil Tennant. The album contained the singles “Going to a Town", "Rules and Regulations" and "Tiergarten" and reached #2 on the UK Album Chart and #23 on the US Billboard Chart.
Not only was Rupert Wainwright interested in show business and singing, he also started the movement Blackoutsabbath in 2008 which encouraged people to be more environmentally conscious by switching of electrical goods when necessary and he also organised benefit concerts to raise awareness and save energy. Working with his sister and mother Martha Wainwright and Kate McGarrigle, Rufus Wainwright helped to raise $55,000 for the Kate McGarrigle Fund which raises money to help prevent a cancer which his mum suffered from, and of which she died of in 2010.
Rufus Wainwright dedicated his sixth album offering All Days Are Nights: Songs for Lulu for his late mother and used poetry from Shakespeare in his music. He described ‘Lulu’ as the "dark, brooding, dangerous woman that lives within all of us" and his song choices dealt with his experiences of living in New York and his exposure to pain and suffering. The song "Zebulon” was a deep and moving tribute to his mum when she was in hospital and was a favourite of both of theirs.