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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


Leonard Cohen - I'm Your Man
I first sang that song in Hydra in Greece. I was staying at Leonard's house because I was very close friends with his daughter at the time. He had bought [the house] years and years before. He went into a bank in Montreal and spoke to a teller who was Greek. He asked her 'where should I buy a house?" and she mentioned this island of Hydra so he bought one there. I think he left the house in the 60s but people had been going there for many, many years to try and catch a glimpse of him.

There was a tribute show that these mega fans were putting on at a little venue and they heard that I was there. I had just started to sing but Lorca [Cohen's daughter] said I should do a song. I think it was probably still the 90s and so I chose to do 'Tower of Song'; it really had a very triumphant impact on me.

It's so talked about by the greats in music – this concept of being in this tower and making it there eventually. I think maybe because of my parents and the shadow that I always lived in, especially when I was young, that song really struck a chord with my struggle to think of myself as one day being at least close to something legendary. I was worried that I was not going to be as good as them. I don't know if I'll ever get there, but I just remember that fear and that feeling and that wish so present in the song.