(July 22, 1973 - living) Canada
The latest in a family of celebrated songwriters, Rufus is the son of folksingers Loudon Wainwright III and Kate McGarrigle. Rufus' mother brought him up listening to opera and jazz, as well as the folk-pop she was writing at home. His father was infamous for his candid, autobiographical songs. Rufus's amalgamated influences made way for the almost vaudevillian and often autobiographical baroque pop.
He knew he was gay from a very early age. Both parents were worried about him, but accepted him as he was, and he travels with the Wainwright clan to perform shows en masse with his parents, sister, and extended family. He and Loudon Wainwright also appeared in a father/son spread in Rolling Stone.
Rufus broke with the family guitar tradition in composing songs for the piano, and his expressive voice is a varied instrument as well. "I love being gay," he has said, "but the music is awful." He set out to change that, releasing his self-titled debut album in 1998. The album was embraced by critics and fans alike, who were intrigued by the wild ride of styles which Rufus deems "popera".
Rolling Stone's critics named him best new artist. Rufus' second album, entitled Poses, was released in 2001 to equal acclaim, and the ensuing tour gained him increasing popularity and exposure.
- Rufus Wainwright (1998)
- Poses (2001)