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Wainwright brings his 'Robe Recitals' to fans on lockdown

Despite canceled tour dates and a delayed album release, Rufus Wainwright is still working hard in lockdown. Every morning, he takes to his piano at home in Los Angeles for what he has coined his “Robe Recitals,” or “Quarantunes,” where he performs a track from his extensive back catalogue — in a bathrobe — on Instagram.

“Even before this pandemic, I would practice every morning in my bathrobe,” smiled Wainwright, speaking before a session earlier this month, adding that the robe was a necessary addition. “Before I was married and had a child, I would practice naked back in the good old days, hungover and naked at the piano.”

Wainwright’s husband Jorn Weisbrodt films the musician’s daily performances and posts them to Instagram. The videos include dedications to friends like Marianne Faithfull, who was recently released from the hospital after a coronavirus diagnosis. They also feature stories about Wainwright’s older songs or the meanings behind the lyrics of unreleased tracks.

The singer says he’s relishing the opportunity to practice and “work out some of the kinks in certain songs” and to invite audiences into an intimate space. “One of the great joys of being a musician is being alone and playing songs and losing touch with reality and time and so forth," he said. “I get to now go through that experience with an audience of man.”

Wainwright’s ninth album, “Unfollow the Rules,” has had its release date pushed back to July 10, and the singer says he’s very grateful that his fans understand the delay. “I haven’t made a pop record for over seven years, so we want to do this right,” he said.

In the meantime, the “Robe Recitals” will continue. On April 24, Wainwright plans Friday to release “Alone Time,” a single from the forthcoming album which he says is “a perfect title for this day and age.”

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