“I’m normal as shit,” Dominic Fike assures me. Of course, with two albums, a Hulu documentary, a devoted and still growing fanbase, and collaborations with Paul McCartney and Justin Bieber already under his belt, the 25-year-old Florida-born singer, rapper, and songwriter’s life is everything but normal. He meets me over Zoom from the passenger seat of a moving car—his girlfriend, the actress Diana Silvers, is driving: “[She] left her hazards on, so now she has to drive around for 30 minutes,” Fike eventually explains, excusing his tardiness. His phone service drops in and out as the couple approaches the Hollywood Hills, but he remains unfazed, fixing his hair in the rearview mirror’s reflection.
In 2017, Fike released Don’t Forget About Me, Demos on Soundcloud, a homemade body of work recorded during a house arrest tied to an alleged battery of a police officer (Fike was sent to prison two months later for violating the terms of his house arrest), and eventually erased the demos from the internet. By the time the songs were streamable again, he had a multi-million dollar record deal and a highly attentive, engaged following analyzing his every move (see: Dominic Fike Reddit). Last year, Fike put out What Could Possibly Go Wrong, 34-minutes of “genre-fluid” music, described by critics as “the future of pop” and “TikTok bait” with explicit lyrics that seemed to detest his experiences with fame— “Told my manager, no more parties in Los Angeles. Last night I fell deeper than Brockhampton down a rabbit hole. Did so much blow I won’t ever find my appetite.”
“What Could Possibly Go Wrong was so hectic and fragmented because that’s really how I was,” Fike says of his emotional state during that period. “I took some time off, and now I don’t really feel that,” he adds, mentioning his newfound sobriety and more grounded relationship with himself throughout the pandemic, where he’s been in Los Angeles splitting his time between working at the studio and at home with Silvers.
GQ spoke with Fike—with Silvers occasionally chiming in from the driver’s seat— about working with McCartney and Bieber, sobriety, panic attacks, his forthcoming work, and the perks of prominence.
GQ: Why do you think your fans are so fixated on you becoming really famous?
Dominic Fike: Maybe because I’m so fucking dope and so fucking handsome, and I’m so goddamn smart. So they’re probably just like, “He’s got it all.” How could I not be super famous? It just makes sense.
I honestly have no fucking idea why anyone would say that. I’m normal as shit. I just sat at the crib and made shit. Every day, I’m like, “Damn, I’ve got to do something or else I’m going to fall off.”
It’s interesting that the lyrics in What Could Possibly Go Wrong seem to be anti-fame. Is there anything that you like about being famous?
I’m not like Eminem. I like big ass shows. I like when people are like, “Yo, we brought the catering, Mr. Fike.” It’s not annoying to me. I love my fans. I love the money as well. The only thing I miss is the lack of pressure. When I go into the studio, I think of what a fan said on Twitter. I don’t like the influx of opinions that I’m bombarded with. I miss the lack of eyes on me. Other than that, being famous is dope as fuck.
Have you felt pressure from the label to change your sound?
I felt it in What Could Possibly Go Wrong. I always tried to make stuff that’s simple. Like Justin Vernon or Frank [Ocean], but it never ends up like that.
What Could Possibly Go Wrong was so hectic and fragmented because that’s really how I was [at the time]. I took some time off, and now I don’t feel that. Also, no drugs and alcohol anymore. I eat right; I drink water. Meditation helps me. Now that I’m making this one, I’m doing all that. I worked out today.
What else do you do to get out of your head? Your fans bring you lavender.
Oh my god, the lavender story. My childhood friend Gus used to get these crazy migraines, and his mom would bring him lavender. As a kid, he would be like, “This shit just calms me down.” And then when I did that “3 Nights” music video, I was rambling and said, “I could use some lavender,” and my fans caught on and started bringing me lavender to every fucking show.
Does lavender have the same effect on you now?
No. It makes me nauseous. I hate the smell of lavender now. I had so much on my tour bus. I don’t like it anymore. We overdid it.
What do you do when you’re anxious?
Before I play, there was a pre-game ritual that I probably won’t be able to indulge in anymore due to my newfound sobriety. I’d make a hot toddy. Now I drink a lot of water, maybe make some tea with honey.
How has sobriety influenced your music?
It’s been two and a half months. I can make full songs now, and I don’t hate them. I make music by myself, so I need to be sober to know how to plug this shit in here. I’m so proud of how far my music has come. I’m expanding my knowledge. Before, I thought, “I know all I need to know. I play the guitar, and I sing, and I write, and then these people do shit for me.”
How would you describe the music you’re working on now?
Not like What Could Possibly Go Wrong at all. I’ve been trying to do Beatles-type production, but Weezer/Chili Pepper/Jack Johnson vocals.
Diana Silvers: You take elements of different genres, and you mix and bend them to cater to what you like. It’s always been what you do.
How has Diana influenced your music?
Dominic: She’s a fucking musical encyclopedia. She knows so many songs. There will be some crazy song from the ’50s playing in a fucking restaurant in New York, and she’ll be like, “Oh, this guy from this era and this album.” She likes old music, movies, and clothing. It’s influenced my music for the better.
How did you two meet?
Diana: Dom sent me a demo on Instagram called “Peanut Butter Bagel.” I responded, “I’ve never had a peanut butter bagel, but the song is very good.” I had never really listened to his music, but my roommate knew he had an album coming out and told me he was probably promoting it. I messaged again, and I was like, “Was this just a promo?” And he was like, “No, I loved you in Space Force” and told me to come to a show. I immediately responded, “See you in three years.”
Dominic: Then she said, “let’s go on a walk tomorrow.” I was like… You’re fucking about that life. The rest is history. We’re in a full-blown relationship. On our first date, we talked about Paul McCartney, and I hadn’t talked about Paul in so long or The Beatles. It kind of manifested the Paul feature. I was trying to make stuff to impress her and work with people that she had heard of. All of a sudden, that shit happened.
How was working with Paul McCartney?
I worked for Paul, which is how everyone always feels about working with Paul. I did get to talk to him a couple of times though. My manager was like, “Yo, Paul McCartney just hit you up.” I went to the studio, and I invited my drummer, Ryan, and he put drums over my singing.
Did you have a similar experience with Bieber?
Bieber hit me up with a studio day scheduled for me. I went with Diana. Somebody was like, “Yo, by the way, Justin’s pulling up.” Justin played me the album and I’m still so honored to be a part of that shit.
Bieber is a real-ass athlete with music. I remember when I called him, it felt like I was calling LeBron James. He’s 100%. It’s his whole life. Personally, I’m trying to find a balance, but he helped me think about music more seriously and inspired me to put my mind into it more.
Who is next?
I’m pretty much done. All I have left is Kanye and Drake. What I’ve been working on is the beginning stages of getting back into my demo shit but refined. I’m trying to make King of Everything Part 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 8. I’ve been making rap music as well. I know people want me to rap more.
Diana: Other than Kanye and Drake… I’d also say Beyonce. Just going to put that out there. What if you and Beyonce were just in the same room at the time that I happen to be there too? I can say hello to Beyonce!
Do you two share a closet yet?
Dominic: Yes, let’s look at my fit right now. Shout out to my boys at Unsound Rags. Justin Bieber wears these pants too. I wore them first by the way. I always wear my Converse or [Saint Laurent] boots. I inspired [The Kid] LAROI’s every step when it comes to swagger. Ask all the boys. Ask 24k[Goldn]. Prada, hit me up. Celine! Diana has good t-shirts and sweatpants. I’m wearing her socks right now. I love her Cherry and BRAIN DEAD stuff. She has cute socks. I’m wearing these socks with zebras right now.
Diana: Are you kidding me? You’re going to stretch them out!
Dominic: I’ll buy you more, oh my god.
What is the first thing you’re going to do together when the world opens up?
I’m going to take this girl to 1 Oak.
Diana: No, you’re not. I’ve come so far without going to 1 Oak.
Dominic: I want you to come to one of my shows and I want to go to one of your premieres. Just cute shit like that.
This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity