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Rufus Wainwright Unveils 'Unfollow The Rules'

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Rufus Wainwright Unveils 'Unfollow The Rules'

Singer-songwriter supreme Rufus Wainwright has announced the release of his long-awaited new album. UNFOLLOW THE RULES arrives via BMG on Friday, April 24; pre-orders are available now.

UNFOLLOW THE RULES is heralded by today's premiere of "Damsel In Distress," available for streaming and download along with an official companion video, created by award-winning animator Josh Shaffner.

"'Damsel In Distress' is an homage to Joni Mitchell in some ways," says Wainwright, "particularly the structure. My husband and I now live in Laurel Canyon. I wasn't that familiar with Joni's music but Jörn became obsessed and took me on a journey into her music. We ended up hanging out with her and I get now why she's one of the greats. So it's part Laurel Canyon, part a song about a personal relationship that I'm trying to come to terms with, but mostly my Mitchell virginity being broken."

Wainwright's ninth studio LP and first new pop album since 2012, UNFOLLOW THE RULES finds the artist at the peak of his powers, entering artistic maturity with passion, honesty, and a new-found fearlessness while remaining as creative, bold, and mischievous as ever. Produced by Mitchell Froom (Crowded House, Paul McCartney, Richard Thompson, Suzanne Vega, Randy Newman) at a variety of legendary Los Angeles studios - including Sound City Studios, United Recording, and EastWest Studios - the album serves as both bookend to Act I of an extraordinary career which, like Unfollow The Rules, began in the studios of Los Angeles, but also now as the first lines of a remarkable new chapter. Inspired by middle age, married life, fatherhood, friends, loss, London, and Laurel Canyon, songs like "Only The People That Love" and the spirited, symphonic "Hatred" find the gifted singer-songwriter ready to tackle new challenges, yet compelled to confront his past by making sense of how he has grown both as a musician and the contended family man he has become.

"What I would like this album to symbolize is a coming together of all the aspects of my life which have made me a seasoned artist," says Wainwright. "My aim is to emulate the greats of yore whose second acts produced their finest work - Leonard Cohen when he made THE FUTURE, when Sinatra became Sinatra in his 40s, when Paul Simon put out GRACELAND. Pop music isn't always about your waistline. Many songwriters improve with age. I'm flying the flag for staying alive!"

UNFOLLOW THE RULES was preceded late last year by the romping first single, "Trouble In Paradise," available now at all DSPs and streaming services. The rhythmically complex track arrived alongside a gender-blurring companion video, directed by award-winning Canadian photographer and filmmaker Mia Donovan and streaming now via YouTube. "Trouble In Paradise" was greeted by international media attention and unanimous critical acclaim, with Rolling Stone enthusing, "Over lush pop rock orchestration reminiscent of Billy Joel, Wainwright saunters through a vocal performance that lends a lavish edge to his wry lyrics." "The new song dazzles, dances and blossoms into something altogether delightful," declared Cool Hunting. "Wainwright fans will be pleased." The Times of London hailed "Trouble In Paradise" for its "soaring harmonies and woozy romanticism," while the Montreal Gazette simply raved, "steeped in lush, soulful harmonies and backed by slow, steady, country-tinged beat, it's a classic Wainwright torch song,"

UNFOLLOW THE RULES has already been met with remarkable praise from some of Wainwright's friends, fans, and fellow artists. "This is pop music on a grand scale; sweeping, symphonic, unabashedly emotional and fearlessly agnostic in style and delivery," says Sting, while Cyndi Lauper described the album as "Rufus' PET SOUNDS. It sounds like a culmination of everything he has done. It's a great album, catchy and intelligent."

Long applauded as an ingenious, compellingly charismatic live artist, Wainwright has slated a wide-ranging global tour schedule for 2020, including international headline dates, top-billed festival performances, and more. A full-scale North American headline tour will be announced soon. Tickets will be available for purchase starting on February 28 10 AM local time. For updates and additional information, please visit




19 - North Charleston, SC - High Water Festival *

24 - Bremen, Germany - Jazzahead Festival *

25 - Bourges, France - Festival de Printemps de Bourges

27 - London, United Kingdom - Islington Assembly Hall (Two shows) ^


1 - New York, NY - City Winery ^

2 - Huntington, NY - Paramount Theatre ^

3 - New York, NY - City Winery, NY ^

8 - San Francisco, CA - The Fillmore ^

9 - Los Angeles, CA - Troubadour (Two shows) ^

11 - Solana Beach, CA - Belly Up #

17 - Guadalajara, Mexico - Corona Capital *

30 - Kværndrup, Denmark - Heartland Festival *


2 - Istanbul, Turkey - Zorlu PAC Jazz Festival *


4 - Caldas De Reis, Spain - PortAmérica *

5 - Madrid, Spain - Noches del Botanico *

7 - Oeiras Valley, Portugal - Festival Jardins do Marques *

14 - La Rochelle, France - Francofolies Festival *

18 - Echternach, Luxembourg - Echterlive *


1 - Glasgow, UK - Kelvingrove Park

2 - Co Waterford, Ireland - All Together Now *


6 - Paris, France @Grand Rex ^




Praised by The New York Times for his "genuine originality," Rufus Wainwright has established himself as one of the great male vocalists, songwriters and composers of his generation. The New York-born, Montreal-raised singer songwriter has released seven studio albums to date with, three DVDs, and three live albums, including the fantastic Grammy nominated Rufus Does Judy at Carnegie Hall.

Musically Rufus has collaborated with artists including Elton John, Burt Bacharach, Robert Wilson, David Byrne, Boy George, Joni Mitchell, Pet Shop Boys, Heart, Robbie Williams, Jessye Norman, Billy Joel, Paul Simon, Sting, and producer Mark Ronson, among many others.

Rufus has made a name for himself in the classical music world. His much acclaimed first opera, titled Prima Donna, premiered at the Manchester International Festival in July 2009 and was performed in London, New York, Paris, Buenos Aires, Hong Kong among others. Rufus' second opera based on the on the story of the Roman Emperor Hadrian and Antinous premiered in October 2018 at the Canadian Opera Company in Toronto and won a Dora Award for Outstanding New Opera.

Rufus has also distinguished himself by playing original orchestrated pop songs, his orchestral settings of 5 Shakespeare Sonnets and pieces from an extensive classical repertoire with orchestras around the world such as the Chicago Symphony, Toronto Symphony, Residentie Orchestra, Orchestre National de lIle de France, the orchestra of the Teatro Real.

He has appeared at many of the world's greatest concert halls and festivals including Royal Albert Hall, Carnegie Hall, Sydney Opera, Teatro Colon, Hollywood Bowl, the Elbphilharmonie, the Olympia, Glastonbury, Roskilde, and the Kennedy Honors

He has written and recorded songs for a wide variety of movies and TV shows including Brokeback Mountain, Shrek, Judy, Meet the Robinsons, The Aviator, Moulin Rouge, and Boardwalk Empire.

He and his sister Martha Wainwright continue the legacy of their mother, Canadian folk icon Kate McGarrigle, and raise funds for the Kate McGarrigle Fund funding sarcoma research and a music therapy program.

Wainwright is currently working on a number of films, podcasts and musical projects and lives in Los Angeles with husband Jörn Weisbrodt and shares custody for his daughter Viva with her mother Lorca Cohen.

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