Interview: Rufus Wainwright for Timbre Rock & Roots 2013

What was your childhood like?
I was blessed with a beautiful, idyllic childhood … growing up in Quebec with lots of sun and music in the air, always. Even when my mum and aunt were performing and touring together, they’ve never once put the children aside. With the same amount of time they spent on touring, they made sure they made up for it by spending equal amount time with us.

You have a daughter now with Lorca Cohen (daughter of singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen) and you’re legally married to partner Jörn Weisbrodt. Will you be adopting the same philosophy to fatherhood?
Well, it’s still too early to tell. My son is currently two-years-old, and he spends a lot of time with mom who basically stays most of the time in one place (laughs) while I’m the one doing all the travelling and performing. But yeah, we’ll see. I hope to.

How do you find your balance then?
Balance is important, but i do feel that as an artist you also tend to seek a certain imbalance and a dark side. Sometimes to find that balance you need to rock that boat a little. But I’ve always been a positive person. Sure when I was younger I did lots of naughty things like doing drugs and being promiscuous, but I’ve always exuded a positive energy. You can hear it in my songs … even in moments of darkness there are silver linings of hope … I am always going towards the light. I’ve always leaned that way.

So do you sleep well?
I sleep very well, actually (laughs). I’ve been eating well too. Too well, in fact.

So what’s most important to you now?
My health. I still consider myself young as I’m not yet 40, and to see my mum’s health disappear right in front of my eyes [McGarrigle died of cancer in 2010] was very tough. I also think that it’s important to have a sense of humor.

What about love?
Love is important, but I also feel that justice comes a close second, especially in this day and age with these monolithic corporations taking over and social and religious issues are in such a state. As a child, I had never imagined that one day I’d live to see gay men being prosecuted. Justice is the answer.

What can we expect from your debut performance here?
It’d be a cross-section of my life’s repertoire in the tradition of a troubadour. I never do the same show twice.

Famous last words?
Right now I’ve really got to get to the loo, so in the tradition of Oscar Wilde, I’d say “It’s either the poo goes, or I go.”

Rufus Wainwright performs at Timbre Rock & Roots 2013 on March 21, 7:15pm at Fort Canning Green.