Rodriguez, the legendary singer-songwriter known only by his surname, is a self-taught guitarist. He began performing in bars and clubs around the city of Detroit in the 1960s, as the city suffered postindustrial urban decay. It was there that he recorded two studio albums, Cold Fact in 1969 and Coming from Reality in 1971 released on Sussex records. These recordings went unnoticed in the U.S. and Rodriguez eventually turned his efforts elsewhere, earning a bachelor's degree in philosophy from Wayne State University, running for political office and working construction and factory jobs to support his family.
Rodriguez will perform at The Newton Theatre on Thursday, April 2, 2020 at 7:30 p.m.
In the mid-1970s, his music gained airplay in Australia and New Zealand. He has since toured there several times, to play festivals, arenas & theaters. He released “Rodriguez Rocks – Live In Australia “ in 2016 on Light in the Attic Records and has just completed a multi-city tour of Australia in November/December of 2016.
In the late 1990s, South African fans finally sought him out, leading to the unanticipated renaissance of his music career. Their story is told in the 2012 Oscar award-winning documentary, Searching for Sugar Man, directed by Malik Bendjelloul , which has given Rodriguez a new measure of fame in the U.S. with his music and story now reaching audiences worldwide. The film has been aired multiple times on PBS and public TV worldwide and is available on DVD and streaming TV.
Rodriguez was unaware that he had reached legendary folk-rock super stardom status in South Africa, where mistaken rumors circulated that he had perished. As it turns out, South African anti-Apartheid activists and musicians alike were inspired by his counterculture lyrics. At the beginning of 2016 he went on a multi-city tour of South Africa, often playing multiple nights in arenas.
Rodriguez now tours extensively in South Africa, Australia, Europe, Canada and the U.S., where he takes thoughtful appreciation in greeting longtime fans, and a new generation of listeners who find common ground in his music. His albums, Cold Fact and Coming from Reality have been re-released on Light in the Attic Records and the Searching for Sugar Man soundtrack is available on Sony Legacy. International media attention, awareness and accolades have since been bestowed upon both the documentary - Searching for Sugar Man and Rodriguez’s music.
He has perhaps one of the most unique true music business stories of fleeting fame finally realized. Rodriguez is enjoying the collective heartfelt dream of a musician, beating the odds and finding a place in music history.