Dominic Fike is no stranger to the 305. Miami served as a musical refuge for the Naples native growing up, exposing him to the mixture of grunge, punk, indie, and rap music that so noticeably codes his work today.
"I was a massive fan of drugs as a kid, so Miami was the spot to be," Fike humorously quips in his signature candid attitude. "But seriously, a lot of my earlier music was all just grunge punk and very vulgar rap music because I was in Miami and really just digging into that. A friend of mine and I would go on these little self-funded tours, steal bikes, sleep in cars, then show up at these rap shows. If you look at some of the footage from that punk scene, you'll probably see me and him in the background, very malnourished and ghastly. I think I had a lot of anger at my living situation, and that sort of music helped me at the time. It was like therapy before I could afford it."
The 27-year-old musician and actor's journey to success didn't happen overnight, though it may seem that way given his breakout role on HBO's Euphoria, which he landed with virtually no acting experience. But Fike's musical career has been a careful, gradual ascent fueled by an unwavering passion and dedication.
According to Fike, he was the type to make GarageBand beats on his mother's iPad and jam on guitars purchased by his father for $80 at local pawn shops. After years of experimenting with friends and finding the confidence to enter the studio, Fike's career jump-started his 2018 debut single, "3 Nights," which was shouted out by hip-hop collective Brockhampton and earned him a record deal with Columbia Records.
These days, Fike has amassed 19 million listeners on Spotify and earned acclaim from publications like Rolling Stone and Billboard, all while casually becoming a Gen Z icon with his quintessential laid-back image. He's even featured on two major movie soundtracks this year: Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse and Barbie.
His latest album, Sunburn, heavily alludes to his Florida roots. Fike says the record's inspiration wasn't a single moment but rather a reflection of his growth as an individual and a desire to close the gap on his musical hiatus.
"I don't really like the idea of artists taking three to five years in between albums, and the fact that I did that really irked me," Fike says. "I just wanted to get something out, and this was a handful of semi-finished music I had at my fingertips. I was a really bad addict when I made a lot of the demos, and I keep saying that the inspiration was sort of like closing the chapter on that stage in my life. Reaching back and finishing those songs was sort of like shaking hands with my younger self and leaving it behind. But that's just me trying to be deep."
The collection of tracks on Fike's sophomore album offers a sun-soaked glimpse into his childhood and changes as seen in songs like "Dancing in the Courthouse," which is accompanied by a Floridian music video featuring manatees and oranges, and "Think Fast," featuring Weezer. For the recording of Sunburn, Fike retreated to the Sunshine State, renting out a studio for several days and collaborating alongside his close friends.
Now that he's embarked on his Don't Stare at the Sun Tour, Fike is immersing himself in the long-gestating tracks that make up Sunburn. He admits that the pressure and expectations of fame can be daunting (he jokes that he often reverts to a comforting fetal position if the pressure gets too overwhelming), but it all goes away when he's on the stage.
"There's something beautiful, really beautiful, about the unraveling in front of an audience," Fike shares. "But if you see something on social media about one performance, chances are it's going to change each night, and there's always gonna be something different. My fans are pretty young, and they dance, and they scream, and then it just kind of makes me do that too. It's really just me hanging out with thousands of kids each night and mirroring that."
The tour is not just about a single show but an opportunity to witness the culmination of Fike's artistic growth. But despite his success, he trying to stay humble.
"I'm just going to keep getting better at this touring stuff, hopefully," Fike says. "And my lungs are gonna get wider because I stopped smoking, which means I'm gonna become a better singer, and I'm trying to become 175 pounds by the end of this thing. So I'm gonna be looking hot, maybe take my shirt off. But yeah, that's what's going down. It's gonna keep getting better. You heard it first."
Dominic Fike. With Hether. 8 p.m. Saturday, July 29, at FPL Solar Amphitheater, 301 Biscayne Blvd., Miami; 305-358-7550; bayfrontparkmiami.com. Tickets cost $34.75 to $85 via livenation.com.