The day that Dominic Fike re-released his debut EP, Don’t Forget About Me, Demos, in October, he was stooped over a toilet bowl. The previous day he had spent day drinking at the beach. 

“[I was] getting drunk in the sun, and then… I went out,” he says. “I went to the crib and just had more alcohol. And I woke up going through it!” The album went live on all streaming platforms as he was battling a hangover. 

The 22-year-old artist—then 21— was already the source of much music industry intrigue, the ostensible protégé of Florida “SoundCloud rap” who had an Apple logo where a teardrop tattoo should be. Fike seemingly appeared out of nowhere, originally releasing the demo tape in December of 2017 as an independent artist, while he was serving time in the Collier County Jail. 

The 6-track pop collection, which he recorded while on house arrest, sparked a much-publicized bidding war between the major labels. By August, all of his music had been taken down from the Internet—including his early music as a rapper—and it was announced that he signed a deal with Columbia Records, rumored to be valued at around $4 million. The day that Don’t Forget About Me, Demos was released once again, this time under the Columbia Records banner, DJ Khaled posted a screenshot of the cover to his Instagram story.

“I remember seeing the DJ Khaled post, specifically,” Fike says. “I was just like on the floor in my brother's bathroom, shaking in my underwear.” 

That day, October 16th, was remarkable in more ways than one. Hours later, still hungover, Fike got into his car to drive his mother to jail. She was going to serve time for drug-related charges. The first thing he did when he got his paycheck from Columbia was hire a lawyer to help reduce her prison time. She was sentenced to two years. 

“Yeah, the day I released the tape, I fuckin’ had to take my mom to jail for two years,” he tells me, as though remembering it again for the first time. “So that's what happened that day.”