Martha Wainwright on Trump, turning 40 and her mentor Leonard Cohen

The singer also told the Roisin Meets podcast about the curse-laden song she performed the night Donald Trump was elected

 

“I feel better than I ever really have and I’m trying to make it sound good, not only to myself but to other people,” says singer Martha Wainwright about turning 40.

“I’m trying to set the tone that it’s not a bad thing. In my industry, lots of people, and actors too, shave years off their life,” she told Róisín Ingle, presenter of the Roisin Meets podcast.

The Canadian-born musician has been singing and writing songs since a young age and her earlier music was synonymous with the anger and frustration of youth.

Her fourth album, Goodnight City, is different though. It is “kind of the end of an era and the beginning of another” and a farewell to her youth, she said.

Wainwright, now a mother of two young boys, admitted that motherhood has changed her in some ways, including her music. But fans need not worry too much.

“I think I have softened around that, but not fully. Don’t get me wrong, there are people who can, perhaps, still be victims of my feelings,” she laughed.

One of Wainwright’s biggest influences was fellow Canadian Leonard Cohen, who died last year. He was a friend and mentor and his album, I’m Your Man, changed the way she listened to and thought about music.

“It was great to have the opportunity to know him and everything that he did was so beautiful and classy, even his death,” she said.

It is nearly seven years since her own mother, the Canadian folk musician Kate McGarrigle, died. Her death has brought Wainwright and her older brother Rufus closer together.

“Since she has died we have sort of morphed more into one person,” she said. “It was so important to be different growing up but now it’s just important to just be together.”

Wainwright, who holds dual Canadian-US nationality, also spoke about the election of Donald Trump and how she paid tribute to the US president with a rendition of one of her best known songs during a Facebook Live event at The New York Times.

“I was going to talk about this great new female president, but I walked up there, it was night-time, about 9 o’clock, and the news started to come in. There were people with their bottles of whiskey… when it got to me on Facebook Live, instead of doing my record I did my song You Bloody Mother F**king Asshole.”

To listen to Martha Wainwright play three songs – including her tribute to Donald Trump – and the full conversation with Róisín Ingle, go to iTunes, Soundcloud, Stitcher, or irishtimes.com.

Martha Wainwright, Goodnight City, is out now.

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