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The Creative Issue – News for Creatives | April 15, 2021

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Searching for Sugar Man, the story of Sixto Rodriguez

Searching for Sugar Man, the story of Sixto Rodriguez

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| On 29, Mar 2014

Searching for Sugar Man is an awe-inspiring tale of American unsung musician, Sixto Rodriguez.

Rodriguez released his debut album Cold Facts in 1970 and his second album Coming from Reality in 1971; both were monumental flops in the U.S. However, the story goes, a girl from the U.S visited South Africa in 1970 and brought with her Cold Facts. Within months, Rodriguez was bigger than the Rolling Stones but they knew nothing about the man behind the records. Back in Detroit, his popularity was unknown to Rodriguez, and like a modern day John Keats, Sixto Rodriguez returned to his job in construction and believed himself to be a failed musician.

Searching for Sugar Man follows two of Rodriguez biggest fans (and South Africans), Stephen ‘Sugar’ Segerman and Craig Bartholomew-Strydom on their search to discover the truth about the mysterious and illusive Rodriguez. The film is mysterious, and heartbreaking as it discovers a man who is undoubtedly one of the greatest musicians, and poets of the 1970’s. It’s a mysterious, modest, heartbreaking and inspiring journey to find Rodriguez and his remarkable music.

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“In dilapidated city of Detroit, a city that tells you not to dream big or expect any more” 

Of course shortly after watching Searching for Sugar, I purchased Cold Fact, and Coming from Reality. Cold Facts begins with the track ‘Crucify Your Mind’, and it’s both lyrically beautiful and well before it’s time. Rodrigues sings each lyric with such conviction and emotion, and it’s hard to imagine it’s taken almost thirty years for his music to be realized for what it is – truly extraordinary.

“What he’s demonstrated very clearly is that you have a choice. He took all that torment, all that agony, all that confusion and pain and he transformed it, into something beautiful…he’s representative of the human sprit.

I can’t tell you if they find him, or what they discover, all I can say is it’ll leave you in a state of wonder for days.

 March 6 1998, Sixto Rodriguez

“Thanks for keeping me alive”