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Rufus Wainwright Biography


Home > Music > W > Wainwright, Rufus > Biography


Birth Name: Rufus McGarrigle Wainwright
Birth Place: Montreal, Canada
Years Active: 1993–present
Genres: Baroque Pop, Operatic Pop


Rufus Wainwright (born Rufus McGarrigle Wainwright, July 22, 1973) is an American-Canadian singer-songwriter. In addition to his tenor singing voice, he plays piano and guitar, often switching between the two instruments when performing live. While some songs feature just Wainwright and his piano, his later work is often accompanied by rock instrumentation or a symphony orchestra, displaying complex layering and harmonies with an operatic feel. He often performs with his sister, Martha Wainwright, on backup vocals.

Wainwright's self-titled debut album was released through DreamWorks Records in May 1998. Although his success was limited, Wainwright reached #24 on Billboard's Top Heatseekers chart, and Rolling Stone named him 1998's Best New Artist. Wainwright's second album, “Poses,” was released through the same label in June 2001, resulting in the #1 position on the Heatseekers chart and #117 on the Billboard 200 Albums chart.

With material recorded from the same session, “Want One” was released through DreamWorks in September 2003, and “Want Two” was released through Geffen Records in November 2004. Wainwright's first EP, “Waiting for a Want,” was released through DreamWorks in June 2004, previewing songs that later appear on “Want Two.” His first DVD, “Live at the Fillmore” accompanied “Want Two” and featured live concert footage from a March 2004 performance at The Fillmore in San Francisco, California.

Wainwright's second EP, “Alright, Already: Live in Montréal,” was released by Geffen in 2005. “All I Want,” contained various pieces of work, including a documentary (A Portrait of Rufus Wainwright), live performances, and music videos. “Want,” a repackaging of “Want One” and “Want Two” as one album, was released through DreamWorks/Geffen in November 2005, and contained two extra tracks.

“Release the Stars,” Wainwright's self-produced fifth studio album, was released through Geffen in May 2007. His most successful album to date, “Release the Stars” charted in 12 countries and was certified gold in both the United Kingdom and Canada. To promote the album, “Tiergarten” was distributed digitally and in limited vinyl format as Wainwright's third EP.

“Rufus Does Judy at Carnegie Hall” became Wainwright's sixth album, a live recording released through Geffen in December 2007. The album earned Wainwright his first Grammy Award nomination in 2009, for Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album. Coinciding with the album, “Rufus! Rufus! Rufus! Does Judy! Judy! Judy!: Live from the London Palladium” a DVD was released of Wainwright's tribute concert to Judy Garland recorded in London during February 2007. Wainwright's August 27, 2007 performance at Pabst Theater in Milwaukee, Wisconsin was released in September 2009 as a live CD and video album titled “Milwaukee at Last!!!.”

Wainwright's sixth studio album, “All Days Are Nights: Songs for Lulu,” was first released in Canada through Decca in March 2010. “House of Rufus,” a career-spanning box set, was released in July 2011.





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