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Baker's Dozen

A Tower Of Songs: Martha Wainwright's Favourite Albums
Elizabeth Aubrey , February 8th, 2017 10:25

In a revealing Baker's Dozen interview Martha Wainwright discusses family, love, parenthood and music with Elizabeth Aubrey. Portrait by Carl Lessard


David Bowie - Hunky Dory
The image on that front cover… David Bowie wasn't necessarily gay or not gay or whatever, but that kind of ability to be both sexes and to represent both sexes was very powerful to me. He reminded me a lot of my brother. He sort of looked that way around that time and I'm guessing I was around 14 years old or something like that. It was really the beginning of my teenage years and the beginning of my love affair with music. And then it would come into hanging out a lot with Rufus and going to a lot of gay bars and meeting different types of people that were a little bit more gender fluid; Hunky Dory therefore really struck a chord with me.

I think his voice, the clarity of it where he just pushes the words forwards is incredible. His singing is not so sing-songey. It's not about these big beautiful notes; it's really just pushing the poetry out and of course doing it perfectly well. He could sing the perfect pitch and he had a great sounding voice, but his voice was just really straight ahead and I think that's really powerful. I have a tendency to be a bit more sing-songey with music; I don't know if I'm as direct, but I hope that I tried to be more direct and that might be because of artists like David Bowie.

Hunky Dory is just kinda amazing. Probably for the sheer fun of it if I had to pick a favourite song it would be 'Changes' – it's really, really fun. It has that energy, that pop energy that is somehow so poppy and great but it's also so creative and artistic. And that's really the balance that every artist wishes they could strike. I've never been really able to do it because my music isn't as poppy, but it's certainly something to strive for.