Rufus Wainwright was born in Rhinebeck (New York, 1973) to Kate and Loudon Wainwright, both folk singers and musicians. Rufus was raised in Canada by his mother and became interested in Opera, a passion that influenced his artistic production.
In 1996, he signed a contract with DreamWorks Records, and together with music producer Jon Brion, he started to work on his debut album Rufus Wainwright (1998). The album was positively received by critics, so much that Wainwright was described as «a talent too great to miss out on» by music journalist Robert Christgau, while Rolling Stone nominated him Best New Artist of the year 1998.
His second album, Poses, was published in 2001 and received exceptional reviews. The album was written during Wainwright’s six-month-long stay at the Chelsea Hotel in New York and pulled away from the autobiographical elements of the first album to focus on other people’s stories. For Poses, he won at the GLAAD Media Awards (Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) for best album, which was also certified gold by the Canadian Recording Industry Association.
After releasing Want Series (2003), Release the Stars (2005), and performing a concert in tribute to icon Judy Garland on the Carnegie Hall’s stage in 2006, Wainwright dedicated himself to his greatest passion: Opera. He wrote “Prima Donna”, which debuted at the Manchester International Festival with the entire libretto in French, and “Hadrian”, which opened the 2018 season of the Canadian Opera Company.
The album Out of the Game (2012) marked Wainwright’s transition to pop and dance sounds, which is confirmed by the choice of Mark Ronson as the album’s producer.
Two years later, he was one of the international guests of the sixty-fourth edition of the Sanremo Festival, where he performed “Cigarettes and Chocolate Milk” (from Poses).
Wainwright has never hidden his deep love for Italy and during the summer of 2014, he performed alongside Italian singer Emma at the Auditorium Parco della Musica in Rome and at the Lucca Summer Festival.
In 2020 he published the album Unfollow the Rules under the record label BMG Rights Management, which confirmed his willingness to switch to pop sonorities, a choice that was more than well-received by critics.
The same year, he worked on the song “Andante” for the album Forever, the first solo effort of Francesco Bianconi, the frontman of one of the most beloved bands in the Italian music panorama, Baustelle. In May 2020, Wainwright showed affection and support to Milan, which had been hit by the Covid-19 emergency, by participating in a live-stream performance during the Piano City Milano Preludio 2020, a special project by Associazione Piano City Milano.