But Romero believes in his talent. "He has a gift," she said. "His voice is so sweet yet strong."
As Stoneman began to sing, an elderly man listened intently and smiled. Later, he purchased Stoneman's CD.
At the last stop of the night at La Parrilla on Wilshire Boulevard, Stoneman spotted Melanie Morningstar at a table nearby. She is a loyal fan.
Morningstar appeared to be in a trance as Stoneman sang "Besame Mucho," her lips moving in sync with his.
Afterward, a man with $10 in hand approached Stoneman and asked if he could sing some songs for his daughter, who was celebrating her college graduation. The singer followed him to a table in back filled with family and friends.
Stoneman, obviously tired, strummed his guitar and began to sing. "Someday when I'm awfully low, when the world is cold . . . I will feel a glow, just thinking of you . . . and the way you look tonight. . . ."
At first, the table was silent. Then the guest of honor started to cry. Suddenly, Stoneman was flooded with requests. He played "La Bamba" as they clapped and cheered.
On this night, in this place, he had found what he was looking for. He had found his audience.