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Rufus Wainwright

Under the influence

INTERVIEW The singer/songwriter selects the songs, artists and concerts that have made the biggest impact on his life and career

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. He spoke to EDGAR about the music that has shaped him, starting with Cyndi Lauper.

1

Wainwright plays Dubai Opera this month

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.

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 ingrained 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.

Wainwright is a huge fan of Bacharach

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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