Grammy-nominated singer, songwriter and composer Rufus Wainwright has teamed up with a charity to release a rendition of the Stevie Wonder classic, ‘Signed, Sealed, Delivered (I’m Yours)’.
Wainwright was asked to be a part of the Art of Elysium’s video series tribute for their annual fundraising gala, HEAVEN, which took place on January 7th and honoured Wonder. In the series of ten short concept videos, artists ranging from James Franco and John Legend to Zoe Saldana perform a unique interpretation of the Stevie Wonder hit. Written and directed by New York-based artist Andrew Ondrejcak, each video is radically different – for some, the song feels like a celebration of love, for some it’s a dance tune, to others, the lyrics feel vulnerable like a plead for affection.
Each video is one continuous shot without edit and as such is a simple, clear visual idea with a focus on the performer’s uniqueness. Based on the dance scene in Fellini’s 8 1/2 as well as the 1897 play “La Ronde” (“The Round”), Rufus’s chapter is titled Love and consists of two dancers who begin the video together then cycle through other partners until they find themselves together again.
“’Signed, Sealed, Delivered (I’m Yours)’ is one of the great happy/sad hits of all times,” says Rufus. “If you listen to the lyrics they are both gloomy and touching, but with a really up melody. Unfortunately, it’s not a duality often mastered in this day and age,” says Wainwright.
The videos are in support of the LA-based charity, The Art of Elysium, in promotion of their newly launched philanthropic production company that launches in early January. Elysium Bandini Studios is the first philanthropic studio and streaming platform. Uniting the philanthropic efforts of The Art of Elysium and Rabbit Bandini Productions, Elysium Bandini Studios funds, produces and released the work of emerging artists while providing mentorship from prominent industry professionals.
Rufus performed at a private Art Salon in Los Angeles hosted by The Art of Elysium on the eve of release. Attended by an exclusive few, the intimate setting was the perfect backdrop for Rufus to debut his version live for the first time.
Starring musical artist Rufus Wainwright
Dancers John Corso, Malachi Middleton, Ryan Page, Sam Wentz
Directed by Andrew Ondrejcak
Cinematography by Tom Campbell
Stylist Erica Pelosini
Hair and Make up by Molly Fadden, Ren Bray
Choreography by Katherine Helen Fisher
Rufus Wainwright, one of the great male vocalists, songwriters and composers of his generation, has released eight studio albums, three DVDs, and three live albums. He has collaborated with artists ranging from Elton John, David Byrne, Mark Ronson, Joni Mitchell to Burt Bacharach. At the age of 14 he was named Canada’s best young musician and later received the Juno Award for Best Alternative Album. His album, “Rufus Does Judy” recorded at Carnegie Hall in 2006, was nominated for a Grammy.
His acclaimed first opera, Prima Donna, premiered at the Manchester International Festival in July 2009 and has since been presented in London, Toronto and BAM in New York. In 2010, Wainwright was commissioned by the San Francisco Symphony to compose and interpret “Five Shakespeare Sonnets,” a five-movement song cycle that sets Shakespeare’s “Sonnets” to orchestra and voice. They have since been performed worldwide by orchestras including the Chicago and Montreal Symphonies.
In 2010, he was the first artist to complete a five-concert residency at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden in London. In September 2014, he made his debut with the London Proms at Royal Albert Hall and performed at the Last Night of Proms in the Park.
Other recent achievements include the 2012 world premiere of Sing Me The Songs That Say I Love You: A Concert for Kate McGarrigle, the feature length music documentary that captured the May 2011 tribute concert honoring Rufus’ late mother, the legendary Kate McGarrigle. In 2013, he sang for Billy Joel at the Kennedy Center Honors in Washington. In September 2015, the Deutsche Grammophon released a double CD recording of Prima Donna with the BBC Symphony Orchestra.
Rufus’ latest recording, Take All My Loves: 9 Shakespeare Sonnets, was released on April 22, 2016 on Deutsche Grammophon to critical acclaim. Shortly thereafter, a decade after his celebrated, iconic performances marked a career highlight, Rufus paid tribute once again to the “greatest night in show business” by revisiting Rufus Does Judy at Carnegie Hall, an epic recreation of Judy Garland’s 1961 comeback concert, over two much celebrated nights in June 2016, followed by a restaging at the famed Luminato Festival in Toronto.
The Canadian Opera Company has commissioned Wainwright’s second opera, about Roman Emperor Hadrian, to premiere in Toronto in the Fall of 2018.
Elysium Bandini Studios’ (EBS) is a film studio and live streaming platform featuring films, documentaries and interviews produced and distributed by EBS to raise funds and awareness in support of young artists and filmmakers as well as The Art of Elysium’s charitable programs. Launched by The Art of Elysium’s Founder, Jennifer Howell, alongside partners James Franco and Vince Jolivette, EBS offers exclusive content that combines emerging filmmakers with all-star talent to promote the arts and freedom of expression while benefiting the community.
Subscribers can watch the content on EBS’ site by donating $10 per month or $100 per year. Funds raised will feed back into artistic initiatives and the charitable efforts of the Art of Elysium’s programming – bringing art into medical facilities and hospitals, special education schools for learning and physical disabilities, elder facilities, homeless shelters and communities and several foundations in Los Angeles.
Additionally, EBS’ live streaming platform will help The Art of Elysium to expand its charitable work to prisons, more homeless shelters, senior homes and more underprivileged and inner-city schools in Los Angeles. The Art of Elysium’s leadership and its 1,624 and growing volunteering team will continue to develop and contribute to the charity’s 120 programs monthly, by bringing their artistry to the local communities for the greater good.