Rodríguez signing autographs after a show: April 8, 2007
|Birth name||Sixto Díaz Rodríguez|
|Also known as||Rodríguez|
July 10, 1942 |
Detroit, Michigan, U.S.
|Genres||Rock, folk, psychedelic|
|Occupations||Singer-songwriter, guitarist, poet, excavation worker, demolition worker|
|Years active||1967–1973, 1979–1981, 1998–present|
Light in the Attic
Sixto Díaz Rodríguez (also known as Rodríguez or as Jesús Rodríguez; born July 10, 1942) is an American folk musician based in Detroit, Michigan. His career initially proved short-lived with two little-sold albums in the early 1970s and some brief touring in Australia. Unbeknownst to him, however, his work became extremely successful and influential in South Africa; although, he was mistakenly rumored in that country to have committed suicide.
In the 1990s, determined South African fans managed to seek out and contact him, which led to an unexpected revival of his musical career. Their story is told in the 2012 Academy Award winning documentary film, Searching for Sugar Man, which has also helped give Rodríguez a measure of fame in his native country.
On May 9, 2013, Rodriguez received an honorary doctorate – a Doctor of Humane Letters degree – from his alma mater Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan during WSU's 10 AM commencement ceremony.
Early life 
Rodríguez was born in Detroit, Michigan. He was named 'Sixto' (pronounced Seez-Too) because he was the sixth child in his family. Rodríguez's parents were working-class. His father was an immigrant who had come to the U.S. from Mexico in the 1920s and his mother was of mixed Native American and European descent. In most of his songs he takes a political stance on the cruelties facing the inner city poor.
Domestic record career 
In 1967 (under the name Rod Riguez) he released the single "I'll Slip Away" through the small label, Impact. He did not produce anything for another three years until he was signed to Sussex Records, an offshoot of Buddah records.
It was after the move to Sussex that he changed his professional name to just Rodríguez. Rodríguez recorded two albums with Sussex: Cold Fact in 1970 and Coming from Reality in 1971. But after both of his albums sold very few copies in the USA, he was quickly dropped from the label, which folded in 1975. At the time of his release from the contract, Rodríguez was in the process of completing a third album which has yet to be released.
After this happened, Sixto discontinued his music career and stayed in Detroit. There, he worked in several industries that revolved around manual labor such as demolition, yet always stayed close to a state of poverty. Having remained politically active and motivated to improve the lives of the city's working class inhabitants, Sixto registered and ran for city council in Detroit in 1989. 
It was revealed in 2013 that Sixto has written 30 new songs and is in discussions with Steve Rowland, the producer behind some of his old albums. "I've written about thirty new songs," Sixto told Rolling Stone magazine. "He told me to send him a couple of tapes, so I'm gonna do that. I certainly want to look him up, because now he's full of ideas."
Belated fame abroad 
After failing to make an impact in North America, Rodríguez gave up his career as a musician. Although he was relatively unknown in his home country, by the mid-1970s, his albums were starting to gain airplay in South Africa, Botswana, Rhodesia, New Zealand, and Australia.
After imported copies of his Sussex albums ran dry, an Australian record label, Blue Goose Music, bought the Australian rights to his back catalogue in the mid-1970s. Blue Goose released his two studio albums plus a compilation album At His Best (featuring unreleased recordings from 1973 "Can't Get Away", "I'll Slip Away" [a re-recording of his first single], and "Street Boy").
With a new buzz around Rodriguez, in 1979 he toured Australia with the Mark Gillespie Band as support. Two shows from the tour were later released on the Australian-only album Alive—the title being a play on the rumors caused by his public obscurity that he had died years ago. After the 1979 tour, he returned to Australia for a final tour in 1981 with Midnight Oil before quietly slipping back into normal life.
Unbeknownst to Rodríguez, At His Best went platinum in South Africa, which at one stage was the major disc-press interest supplying his music to the rest of the world. He would often be compared to successful contemporaries such as Bob Dylan. Additionally, some of his songs came to serve as anti-Apartheid anthems in South Africa, where his work influenced many musicians who protested the government. It has been reported that anti-apartheid activist Steve Biko was a Rodríguez fan.
In 1991, both his albums were released on CD in South Africa for the first time, which helped perpetuate his already existent fame. Even in South Africa, however, few details of his life were known to his fans and it was widely rumored and believed that Rodríguez had killed himself during a concert in the 1970s.
Despite the magnitude of his success abroad, Rodríguez's fame in South Africa had remained completely unknown to him until 1998, when his eldest daughter came across a website dedicated to him. After coming into contact with the authors of the website and learning of his long-standing fame in the country, Sixto went on his first South African tour, playing six concerts in front of thousands of fans. A documentary about the tour, Dead Men Don't Tour: Rodríguez in South Africa 1998, was later screened on SABC TV in 2001. Later he played in Sweden before returning to South Africa in 2001 and 2005.
In 1998, his signature song, "Sugar Man", was covered by the South African rock band Just Jinjer. In 2002, the song was used by DJ David Holmes to open his mix album Come Get It I Got It, gaining Rodríguez international airplay again. "Sugar Man" had previously been sampled in the song "You're Da Man" from rapper Nas' 2001 album Stillmatic.
In April 2007 and 2010, he returned to Australia to play the East Coast Blues & Roots Music Festival, as well as shows in Melbourne and Sydney. His song "Sugar Man" was featured in the 2006 film Candy, starring Heath Ledger. Cornish singer-songwriter, Ruarri Joseph, covered Rodríguez's song "Rich Folks Hoax" for his third studio album. Rodríguez now continues to tour in various countries.
Recent success in the United States 
Since the theatrical release of Searching for Sugar Man in 2012, Rodríguez has experienced a flush of media exposure and fan interest in the United States, as well as Europe. Rodríguez appeared as a musical guest on the Late Show with David Letterman on August 14, 2012 performing "Crucify Your Mind", and later performed "Can't Get Away" on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno on Friday, Jan. 11, 2013.
Prominent news coverage has included a mid-August 2012 CNN feature story with an interview of Rodríguez discussing his life and career resurgence. On October 7, 2012 Rodríguez was featured on the highly-rated U.S. television news program 60 Minutes. On November 18, 2012 Rodríguez was interviewed on the U.K. Sunday morning topical news program The Andrew Marr Show, where he also played a short song over the closing credits. He performed on the BBC2 program Later... with Jools Holland on November 16, 2012 and was interviewed by Holland. Additionally, he has performed on the web on such notable web series as The Weekly Comet.
In addition to concerts in Australia, South Africa and New Zealand, Rodríguez's current tour schedule for 2013 includes his most notable U.S. concerts to date, such as a stint at the Beacon Theatre in New York City in April and a spot at this year's Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in Indio, California, as well as other concerts in Europe, like the Primavera Sound Festival in Barcelona, Spain, and Oporto, Portugal in May 2013. He is due to play on the Park Stage at the Glastonbury Festival, England, in June 2013.
Searching for Sugar Man 
In 2012, the Sundance Film Festival hosted the premiere of the documentary film Searching for Sugar Man, from Swedish director Malik Bendjelloul, detailing the efforts of two South African fans to see if his rumored death was true—and if not, to discover what had become of him. The Simon Chinn- and John Battsek-produced documentary went on to win the World Cinema Special Jury Prize and the Audience Award, World Cinema Documentary.
In addition to playing at other films festivals including the True/False Film Festival and the Traverse City Film Festival, the film opened in New York and Los Angeles on July 27, 2012, before a larger domestic theatrical run. It was also screened as part of cinema programs in some European music festivals during the summer of 2012, including the Way Out West festival in August, where Rodríguez also performed. In November it won both the Audience Award and the Best Music Documentary Award at the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam.
The Searching for Sugar Man soundtrack features a compilation of Rodríguez tracks from his Cold Fact and Coming from Reality albums, in addition to a previously unreleased single from his third album. The album was released on July 24, 2012. Furthermore, to allay possible customer concerns raised in the film about how Rodríguez was apparently cheated by his previous record label, the back cover has the statement, "Rodríguez receives royalties from the sale of this release."
Searching for Sugar Man also won the BAFTA Award for Best Documentary on February 10, 2013.
On January 13, 2013, Searching for Sugar Man was nominated for and, on February 24, 2013, won the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature at the 85th Academy Awards. Rodriguez declined to attend the award ceremony (he was on an international concert tour of South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand) as he didn't want to overshadow the filmmakers' achievement if he came up on stage with them. Upon accepting his award, Chinn remarked on such generosity, "That just about says everything about that man and his story that you want to know.” Malik Bendjelloul also said on stage, "Thanks to one of the greatest singers ever, Rodriguez."
- Studio albums
- Live albums
- 1981: Rodríguez Alive (Australia)
- 1998: Live Fact (South Africa)
- 1976: After the Fact (reissue of Coming From Reality) (South Africa)
- 1977: At His Best (Australia)
- 1982: The Best of Rodriguez (South Africa)
- 2005: Sugarman: The Best of Rodriguez (South Africa)
- 1967: "I'll Slip Away" b/w "You'd Like to Admit It" (as Rod Riguez)
- 1970: "Inner City Blues" b/w "Forget It"
- 1970: "To Whom It May Concern" b/w "I Think of You"
- 1977: "Sugar Man" b/w "Inner City Blues" (Australia)
- 1978: "Climb Up on My Music" b/w "To Whom It May Concern" (Australia)
- 2002: "Sugar Man" b/w "Tom Cat" (by Muddy Waters) (Australia)
Comeback discography 
|2012||Searching for Sugar Man||76||24||78||13||31||51||33||9||3||49||Soundtrack of documentary film|
|Cold Fact||78||30||131||–||81||67||–||20||16||–||Re-release of 1970 album|
|Coming from Reality||164||–||–||–||135||–||–||–||22||–||Re-release of 1971 album|
||This biographical article needs additional citations for verification. (September 2012)|
- "Wayne State University". Honors.wayne.edu. Retrieved 2012-09-015.
- Searching For Sugar Man
- Michaels, Sean (January 30, 2013). "Rodriguez set to return to studio after 42-year absence". The Guardian. Retrieved January 30, 2013.
- "Rodriguez: Forgotten in America, Exalted in Africa". NPR. 2012-07-28.
- A conversation with Searching For Sugar Man director, Malik Bendjelloul, The Independent, 21 December 2012
- Petridis, Alexis (October 7, 2005). "The singer who came back from the dead". The Guardian (London). Retrieved May 23, 2010.
- Rodríguez – The Music: "...You're Da Man, Sugar Man..."
- East Coast Blues and Roots Festival (Also known as Byron Bay Bluesfest Archive)
- Stevenson, Mark (2009-03-12). "Rodríguez 'Coming From Reality' gets new lease of life". altsounds.com. Retrieved 2009-03-17.
- Rodríguez: The Rock Icon Who Didn't Know It, reported by Bob Simon, segment produced by Michael Gavshon, CBS News, October 7, 2012.
- Holland, Jools. "Rodriguez chats to Jools Holland". BBC.
- Stuff.co.nz – Sugar Man Rodriquez <sic> to play Wellington
- Sundance: The Electrifying Search For Sugar Man
- "Searching for Sugar Man || A Sony Pictures Classics Release". Sonyclassics.com. Retrieved 2012-08-29.
- "Winners of the IDFA 2012 Awards announced". Amsterdam, Netherlands: International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam. Archived from the original on 2013-01-26. Retrieved 2013-01-26.
- "SEARCHING FOR SUGAR MAN Original Motion Picture Soundtrack Brings Rodriguez's 1970s Music To A New Generation". Legacy Recordings. 2012-05-04. Archived from the original on 2013-01-26.
- "Rodriguez – 'Searching For Sugar Man (The Soundtrack)' (Audio CD)". Ughh.com.
- McCollum, Brian (January 10, 2013). "Sixto Rodriguez rides the wave of 'Searching for Sugar Man' success". Detroit Free Press. Retrieved 23 January 2013.
- Reuters, Sapa-AFP. "Sugar Man takes Oscar". DailyNews. Retrieved 25 February 2013.
- Germain, David (2013-02-25). "Oscars 2013: 'Argo' Takes Home Best Picture at 85th Academy Awards". Moviefone. Retrieved 25 February 2013.
- "Billboard 200 Charts > Rodriguez". billboard.com. Retrieved 2012-02-08.
- "Belgian Charts (Vlanders) > Rodriguez". ultratop.be/fr/ Hung Medien. Retrieved 2011-02-02.
- "Danish Charts > Rodriguez". danishcharts.com Hung Medien. Retrieved 2010-03-02.
- "French Charts > Rodriguez" (in French). lescharts.com Hung Medien. Retrieved 2011-02-02.
- "Dutch Album Charts > Rodriguez" (in Dutch). dutchcharts.nl Hung Medien. Retrieved 2011-08-31.
- "Norwegian Charts > Rodriguez". norwegiancharts.com Hung Medien. Retrieved 2013-03-10.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Sixto Rodriguez|
- Official website of Rodriguez
- Official fan website
- Rodriguez at the Internet Movie Database
- September 2008 interview with the L.A. Record
- Guardian (UK) article
- Sydney Morning Herald article
- Official reissue 2008
- Cold Fact review
- Interview on RocknRollDating
- Mail & Guardian February 20, 1998: Fact: Rodriguez lives
- The Mystery of the Sugar Man, The Economist, 2012
- 'Also Known As'
- CBS 60 Minutes story (Originally aired 15 Oct 2012; re-aired 23 Dec 2012)
- CBS 60 Minutes Overtime (Web-only accompaniment of 15 Oct 2012 on-air story; three songs)
- 'Rodriguez – Sugar Man (Sertac & Semih Remix)'