Rufus Wainwright (born 22 July 1973) is a gay American singer-songwriter. He is perhaps best known for his rendition of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah", as featured in the movie Shrek.
Wainwright was born in Rhinebeck, New York to Loudon Wainwright III and Kate McGarrigle. Exposed to fame at a comparatively young age, he alas found solace in drugs and alcohol. Following a successful stint at a rehab center, he returned much healthier, still smoking but fine other then that.
Despite being born in the US, Rufus strongly identifies with Canada and often visits there. In addition to speaking French, he is equally as well-versed on guitar as he is piano, often switching between them when performing live. Like his father he too is a musician.
His first main exposure to the general public came as an opener to singer Tori Amos. He garnered great praise for his performance and being touring as a main act shortly afterwards.
Although certainly not the first gay performer, Rufus did not hide from his sexuality, talking about it to his audiences in an open and direct manner. He credits good progresses in society for this.
Rufus Wainwright (1998, DreamWorks)
Poses (2001, DreamWorks)
Want One (2003, DreamWorks)
forthcoming : "Want Two" - outtakes, literal or otherwise, from Want One