Martha Wainwright: ‘My happiest decade is also my saddest – this decade’

Martha Wainwright: ‘My happiest decade is also my saddest – this decade’

 

Martha Wainwright.
Martha Wainwright: ‘Things I regret led me to find out who I am.’ Photograph: David Giral/The Observer

The singer-songwriter on her famous musical family, coping with death, divorce and parenting, and how her childhood was still easier than Prince Harry’s

Martha Wainwright, 46, is an American-Canadian singer-songwriter, daughter of folk musicians Loudon Wainwright III and Kate McGarrigle and sister of singer-composer Rufus Wainwright. She has had to work throughout her life to come confidently into her own with piercingly honest songs that tell it like it is – and how it was. Her disarming page-turner of a memoir, Stories I Might Regret Telling You, mixes steadiness with vulnerability.

Throughout your life, your career has been talked about within your family context – is that a blessing or a curse?
I used to see it as a curse but am learning to take it as a blessing. The blessing also came as a responsibility after my mother died [in 2010]. There was a vacuum created by a great artist who had taken up a lot of room in my life, for better or worse. There was a need not to fill her shoes specifically but to live up to whatever I could do. Not that I’m saying I’ve achieved that…

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