Singer Rufus Wainwright angry Adam Lambert is credited as first out mainstream artist
Out singer-songwriter Rufus Wainwright said in a recent interview with GLAAD that he’s “very angry” that American Idol alum and Queen frontman Adam Lambert is credited with being the first out gay mainstream artist.
I don’t claim to be the first out gay artist, but I am one of the first who started my career being out on a major label. And succeeded in the sense that I’ve remained. There was some talk about how Adam Lambert was this incredible pioneer for being the first out gay mainstream artist or something. And, with all due respect to Adam Lambert, who is very talented and a great guy, I got very angry about that. I was like, “No, I kind of did it about 15 years or 10 years earlier than him.”
Wainwright, who is promoting his 10th studio album, Unfollow the Rules, told the LGBTQ&A podcast that at the very beginnings of his career in 1998, he refused to be in the closet.
Execs pressured Wainwright to pretend to be bisexual
“When I started, the first meeting I took with my record company, with Dreamworks Records, I emphatically stated to them that I was gay and that I wasn’t going to hide that,” Wainwright said. However, he was pressured to pretend he was bisexual.
“There was always this line that would come up where they’re like, ‘Can you just pretend to be bisexual at least?’ Or they didn’t necessarily want to take the risk of alienating a certain sector of the mainstream audience with me. But I was always shocked at how, if you do just not bring it up, even if it’s plainly obvious, you do go that much further in the pop world. It’s interesting. I don’t know if I would have ever been a huge pop star regardless. But I think it’s a bigger sort of element than it’s given credit for,” he said.
Wainright is the progeny of well respected folk singer-songwriters Loudon Wainwright III and the late Kate McGarrigle.