Today’s GLBT History Month icon is musician Rufus Wainwright. Born July 22, 1973, Wainwright is an accomplished singer/songwriter. He has produced six albums and is the recipient of two Juno Awards and five GLAAD Media Awards.
From Equality Forum:
Wainwright’s musical talent was shaped by his folksinger parents, Kate McGarrigle and Loudon Wainwright III. He was born in Rhinebeck, New York, and holds dual United States and Canadian citizenship. After his parents divorced, he spent most of his youth with his mother in Montreal.
At age 14, Wainwright broke into the entertainment world with a song he composed and sang in the film “Tommy Tricker and the Stamp Traveller,” earning him a Juno Award nomination for “Most Promising Male Vocalist of the Year.” That same year, he was sexually assaulted by a man he met at a bar. Deeply disturbed by the attack, he remained celibate for seven years.
In 1998, following the release of his first album, Wainwright was named “Best New Artist” by Rolling Stone. He composes music for theater, dance and opera, and has contributed to numerous film soundtracks, including “Moulin Rouge” and “Brokeback Mountain.” Additionally, he has acted in “The Aviator” and “Heights,” among other films.
As a collaborator, Wainwright has worked on albums with music greats Rosanne Cash and Elton John. John hailed him as “the greatest songwriter on the planet.” His first opera, “Prima Donna,” premiered in 2009 at the Manchester International Festival and was the subject of a documentary film that premiered on Bravo! in 2010.
Despite fame and success, Wainwright struggled with crystal meth addiction, a habit he eventually recovered from in 2002. With two decades of performing under his belt, Wainwright assures his fans that he won’t be retiring any time soon: “I am a self-sustaining, vibrant, long-term artist, and I’m not going away!”
- “About Rufus Wainwright.” The Official Community of Rufus Wainwright. 20 May 2010.
- “Kitty Empire talks to Rufus Wainwright.” The Guardian. 21 May 2010.
- Brown, Lane. “The Inquisition: Rufus Wainwright.” Spin Magazine Online. 19 May 2010.
- Ganz, Caryn. “Rufus Wainwright.” Interview Magazine. 19 May 2010.
- “Rufus Wainwright Biography.” Contactmusic.com. 19 May 2010.
- “Rufus Wainwright Biography.” Biography.com. 19 May 2010.
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