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Rufus

Photography Getty Images

Rufus Wainwright

Rufus

Rufus Wainwright

interviewThe enigmatic musician becomes nostalgic as he tells EDGAR about the music and artists that changed his life and shaped his future

Rufus Wainwright may not be a frequent A-list name at the top of the charts, jostling Justin Bieber, Adele and One Direction for the number one spot but, among his peers, he is adored and acclaimed. REM’s Michael Stipe, for instance, Elton John, Sting, Tori Amos, Morrissey and Alanis Morrissette are massive fans of Wainwright’s thoughtful and lyrical work and they’re a bunch that knows a thing or two about songwriting.

Born in 1973, the American/Canadian musical talent is the son of successful folk singers Loudon Wainwright III and Kate McGarrigle and the brother of revered solo singer Martha Wainwright. Rufus has mined his well-documented and often turbulent family relationships to fuel his music over the years, with the first of his nine albums – the self-titled Rufus Wainwright – released in 1998.

Ahead of his guitar and piano gig at Dubai Opera on December 6, EDGAR asked Wainwright to pick out the songs, artists and concerts that made the biggest impact on his personal life and musical career. He began by harking back to a Cyndi Lauper gig he saw as a young boy in Canada, which featured her 1983 pop anthem Girls Just Want to Have Fun.

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Q.

What was the first live performance you saw as a young man that made a big impression you?

A.

The first show I ever saw that really wowed me was Cyndi Lauper at the Montreal Forum. It was part of her first album tour [Fun Tour, 1984]. I think was about seven or eight years old at the time and I just felt like a girl who wanted to have fun!

Q.

When you were growing up, was there an album that you listened to over and over again?

A.

I would say Nina Simone’s double record The Great Show Live in Paris [1974] is one of my favourite albums of all time. It featured a perfect live set of diverse material and set the bar very high for my music tastes.

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Q.

What thoughts does that record trigger for you?

A.

It brings back memories of happiness of discovering my initial love for music, which was, and still is so engrained in my family life.

Q.

What about an artist or band that you obsessed over when you were younger?

A.

I’ve always been a huge fan of Burt Bacharach, whether it’s Dusty Springfield singing his songs, or himself, or Aretha Franklin. I’ve always loved his songs.

Q.

Have you met him?

A.

We have met. I’ve had the privilege of singing with him a couple of times and having him accompany me.

Q.

Have you ever collaborated with Burt Bacharach?

A.

Yeah, he wrote me a song [Go Ask Shakespeare], which was an absolute honour. I’ll always cherish it.

END OF INTERVIEW

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