by Paul Bowers
Singer-songwriter Steven Fiore will be leaving the Holy City for the City of Angels on Monday, hoping to make a go of it in a bigger music market.
"Truthfully, things seem to be growing for me there, and here, as much as I love the same 60 people that come to my shows every time, I've gotten to know all of their names and there's hardly ever a stranger that shows up anymore," Fiore says.
Fiore has played a steady stream of gigs around his hometown of Charleston for years, from wine-shop serenades to house shows to an old-time live radio series at PURE Theatre, and this year saw the release of his long-awaited full-length album Youth and Magic. Fiore has also had some success as a songwriter for other musicians, penning the sweetly twangy ballad "You Can Always Come Home," which got picked up by 2008 American Idol semifinalist Jason Castro.
Fiore says he has loved his time in Charleston, but when it comes to "people coming in and listening to a guy play sad songs," there just isn't enough interest here. "Songwriters don't do nearly as well as jam bands," he says.
This year, Fiore has made a few excursions to Los Angeles to play gigs at venues including — of all places — pop-rock songwriter Ryan Cabrera's house. Those trips have yielded a few unique opportunities for Fiore, including the chance to sing with Jurassic Park star Jeff Goldblum (see video below).
"Every time I go out there, something great happens, and then I come home," Fiore says. "By the time I get out there two months later, the fire's died down a little bit."
Fiore joins a growing list of Charleston artists who've sought greener pastures in bigger cities this year, including Slow Runner member Josh Kaler (who moved to Nashville), hip-hop artist Matt Monday (who moved to Harlem), and songwriter Owen Beverly (who moved to Brooklyn). He says he's optimistic about prospects on the West Coast, but he's also prepared to come back home with his tail between his legs.
"I'm hopeful but also very prepared for L.A. to just completely destroy me," he says. "As long as I go out there and I know that I've done it and I've tried, then I can come back to Charleston and keep doing graphic design and keep music as just my artistic passion."