Review | Dominic Fike Is Back and ‘10x Stronger’
Your Favorite Genre-Bending Musician Is Bigger and Better than Ever
If you were one of the 19 million viewers watching the premiere of HBO’s second-most watched show ever, you probably know Euphoria star Dominic Fike.
The Florida native is killing it at the moment, touring with his debut album What Could Possibly Go Wrong. First as a singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, Fike made headlines as the faceless subject of a fervent record label bidding war. Moving on to become an enigmatic signee of Columbia Records, Fike scored a whopping $4 million contract off the back of his singular self-released EP, Don’t Forget About Me, Demos.
For an artist at that level of obscurity, this was unheard of.
Since the 2020 release of What Could Possibly Go Wrong, even though Fike hasn’t released any new music, a lot has changed. Fike’s leveled up: a supporting role in one of the hottest television shows on right now, a chic co-star girlfriend (Hunter Schafer, whom he posts with pride on social media regularly), and, concurrently, a new legion of fans. For perspective, he has jumped from a few hundred thousand followers last year to now more than three million.
In 2021, I saw him play at a one night pop-up show at the Roxy Theatre in West Hollywood (capacity: 500). Tonight, he’s performing to a sold-out show of 4,000 fans at the Hollywood Palladium, a whopping 800 percent increase from just last year. Seeing him come full circle playing the same city a year later, not only is his growth in fanbase apparent, but his performance on stage has also become more authentic to his music. At the Roxy, he spat lyrics with palpable hunger, turning each song darker into heavier, hip-hop/rock versions, jumping around like he was trying to smash the floor clean open. Today, Fike lets his voice glide over sweet melodies, keeping his arrangements truer to his studio recordings. A band of instruments replaces last year’s pulsating beats as he navigates complex guitar riffs with ease. His vocal deliveries are more laid-back, the richness in his tone more apparent than ever. However, he still sings with the same fervor he had previously. But this time, Fike is self-assured, having sung these songs throughout this tour; he has nothing to prove. Fike even starts the show with a sweet acoustic ballad for a “special” girl in the audience (presumably his aforementioned chic co-star girlfriend). “I wrote this one today,” he beams once the song concludes.
Fike currently lives in Los Angeles, and his appreciation for being back home is apparent. “I’m home!” he exclaims at the start of the show. “It’s nice to be able to just … go home after the show…,” he sighs, highlighting a simple pleasure that he genuinely sounds ecstatic about.
Fike’s recent inability to be home, while unfortunate, is a testament to his success. His stardom is building, and he’s turned into the star he feared becoming in his song “Cancel Me”: “I hope I never, ever have to go on TV … so I can quit wearin’ this mask.” Ironically, getting on TV is how he was able to multiply his audience and get more eyes on the art he’s created. But this time, instead of fearing it, Fike’s created a reality where he can be even more self-assured than before; where being exposed on a wider scale was actually what aided him in becoming more appreciated for his true artistry on stage.
As he sings in “10x Stronger,” this year, he’ll no longer have to “pretend [he’s] 10x stronger for you.”
He simply is.
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