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The Rufus on fire!

The melodramatic Wainwright talks about new album Release The Stars and the state of America in an exclusive chat


Rufus Wainwright comes the most musical of families with his parents and sister Martha all celebrated folk singers.

Ambitious Rufus has recorded 5 albums including the acclaimed Want One and Want Two. After repeating Judy Garlands concerts in London and New York last year hes now back with Release The Stars.

Wainwright spoke to us and happily admitted that his life and music feed off drama. Like the best friend who is constantly in need of your advice, Rufus is attracted to wrong decisions, wrong people and the wrong substances. As he told us:

I definitely feel that I do sabotage situations in order to portray the part of a tortured artist.

While some people can't resist pressing the self destruct button not many hire an orchestra to tell us all about it. Indeed he informs me that some songs on 'Want One' his third album released in 2003, involved two orchestras - now that's dramatic.

This indulgence can repel some but he believes the autobiographical lyrics and his heady musical arrangements cast the spell of beauty.

Hes often described as arrogant by those who find his obsession with himself and operatic style grotesque. Rufus however celebrates this:

Im always happy to be a conversation piece, he said. I dont mind that, I guess because I really am a fan of a forgotten era where celebrities were expected to be somewhat interesting.

His new album Release the stars wont disappoint his fans or his critics. It was originally planned to be a stripped back affair in where Rufus would face the world as an adult but somewhere along the way this was lost:

A lot of that ambitious hungry young man was still in me and wanting to prove himself, he told MTV News.

Recording the record in Berlin allowed him to reflect on America where he says: the general psyche is pretty battered. This resulted in the single Going to a town. He said:

I think we have to realize as Americans that the damage is done, the vase is broken and we have lost a few pieces, nothing is ever really going to be what it once was.

It is in the political track which confronts the Bush administration, albeit in the guise of a love song, where we find that Release the stars may have gone someway to achieve its original goal.

The music is as sumptuous as ever and Rufus proves that he is capable of looking outwards beyond the drama. It may not yet be as an adult, but he is at least ready to face the world.

Lucy Youngman