Eight Gigs: Billy Lawler

Sun., Dec. 27, Gold Lion Arts, 7 p.m., $10

Sacramento native Billy Lawler didn’t have much of a local music career. He was one of those secret-bedroom-project types. Then, two friends who had encouraged him to share his talent suddenly passed away, and he felt the need to honor those wishes. Now, he’s making a go at fame in Los Angeles. If Sam Smith’s success is any indication, Lawler definitely has a shot—with his soulful croon and piano-pop ballads, Lawler would make any Smith fan swoon. He’s working on his debut EP, but his first single “Casualty” is so Sam Smith: R&B influence, sparse instrumentation, emotional falsetto and just plain prettiness. 2733 Riverside Boulevard, www.billylawler.com.