Rufus Wainwright says the more pronounced rock sound heard on his latest DreamWorks release, "Want One," is a natural byproduct of the recording session environment created for the album.

Rufus Wainwright says the more pronounced rock sound heard on his latest DreamWorks release, "Want One," is a natural byproduct of the recording session environment created for the album.

"I was more into what the musicians themselves, like Gerry Leonard and company [Charlie Sexton, Levon Helm, et al.], wanted to bring to the project as pop musicians," Wainwright tells Billboard.com. "So, I kind of let a lot of people play what they wanted to play and I think, therefore, it brought in a little more of a rock feel. In the past, I tended to be kind of dictatorial about what people could play or not. So I sort of loosened up a little on this one."

The same cannot be said about Wainwright's personal life, where a stint in rehab and living in post 9/11 New York has brought a sense of gravitas to the theatrical and sophisticated performer. During the whirlwind years that followed the vocalist's initial success on 1998's self-titled release and 2001's follow-up "Poses," Wainwright indulged in much more than the cigarettes and chocolate milk described in his song of the same name.

When it came time to record "Want One," the floodgates of creativity and expression overflowed, resulting in 30 songs. "I think there are a lot of elements involved," Wainwright says. "I think there is the sober thing. There is the fact that this is a post-9/11 record. I really think that we live in a whole other world and that it is time to put your money where your mouth is. I think also the fact that I had the best producer [Marius deVries], and my favorite producer, to work with and the fact that it is my third album. So, I was a little bit more experienced. And the industry itself has gotten so trashy that maybe people are finally going to want to listen to something that has quality."

While a tour is expected to begin in late November and go into early 2004, the New York singer is already looking forward to releasing another album, "Want Two," a considerably different sounding disc due out in six months or so.

"I think the first one is definitely more optimistic than the second," says Wainwright. "I think the first one deals a lot more with my own private life and the second one deals more with public issues, like this sort of apocalyptic time we're living in. I'm a feel-good cynic."

Wainwright begins a short European tour Thursday (Oct. 9) in Paris.

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