Canadian pop band Magic! has been riding high on the success of its debut single “Rude,” whose feel-good and reggae-infused sound captivated listeners around the world and helped catapult it to the No. 1 spot of the Billboard Hot 100 chart in July.
To sustain that momentum and further promote its first album, “Don’t Kill the Magic” (distributed locally by Ivory Music), the group has recently embarked on its first concert tour and will make a one-night stop Wednesday at the Newport Performing Arts Theater of Resorts World Manila in Pasay City.
“I’m looking forward to seeing the local fans—we can’t wait to meet and interact with them and hear them sing along with us,” band frontman Nasri Atweh told the Inquirer in a recent phone interview.
Although Magic!—also composed of Mark Pellizzer (guitar), Ben Spivak (bass), and Alex Tanas (drums)—was formed only in 2012, its rise to fame was not as swift as it appeared.
“We’ve all been working hard since we were young—singing, performing and playing instruments,” Atweh said.
“Maybe things came together quickly for Magic! but it took us a long time to get to the point where we could say we were strong individually and made a good band,” added the 33-year-old frontman, who initially enjoyed success as a solo artist in Canada in the early 2000s.
He then formed the songwriting team The Messengers, with fellow musician Adam Messinger. The Grammy-nominated duo produced songs for such artists as Chris Brown, Justin Bieber, Pitbull and Christina Aguilera.
After thriving behind the scenes, Atweh now finds himself in the spotlight. Toward the end of this chat, in fact, he was approached by fans asking for photo-ops.
“Magic! Live in Manila” is presented by Wilbros Live. For tickets, call 3749999 or 8919999.
Excerpts from the interview with Atweh:
What has been the most enjoyable thing about being on tour?
It’s been a good couple of months. There’s no single best moment; every day you build great memories. We just did a show in Miami (Florida), which was attended by Pitbull and Marc Anthony and it was amazing. We were also in Brazil and played in front of about 26,000 people. The fans were great.
How do you feel about your very first single reaching No. 1?
It’s pretty awesome, really!
But are you worried about how your succeeding singles will fare in the charts?
No, you don’t have to have worries in life. You just have to stay positive and do your best. If something doesn’t work, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you did something wrong. Before Magic! was formed, I’ve had success writing music for other artists. I believe in the songs in our album.
Our next single, “Let Your Hair Down,” is already picking up in the United States and we’ll be putting the same amount of work on it
What do you think about the spinoffs and response videos to “Rude?”
We’ve heard a few. A lot of fans are having fun with our songs and it’s great!
Have you always loved reggae music?
Yes, but I didn’t realize that it would actually be a part of me as a musician. It’s the sort of thing that you just discover as you go along. You might think you’re into blonde girls, but then you fall for a brunette. Or you might think that you’re a cat lover and then end up with a dog!
Would you say that “Rude” is a good representation of the band’s sound as a whole?
Yes, it was a great song to start us up—it’s fun, has good storytelling and has cool reggae grooves and harmonies. Our next single will be more playful, sensual and smooth, but will still have that reggae flavor. It will have a good guitar solo from Mark.
Which artists have influenced your music?
Bob Marley, The Police, The Beatles, Stevie Wonder and lots of other artists.
How would you label your music then?
At the end of the day, we’re a band that makes pop music, with reggae being a big part of it. Who knows what will happen in the future? But right now, we’re devoted and committed to the reggae sound and we hope to spread it around the world.
Do you think that reggae has a place in today’s mainstream scene?
I would like to think that we’ve done it with our album.
Do you plan to continue writing songs for other artists?
I’m in the studio on days off, but there’s not much time or reason to write for anyone right now. I love writing with band mates and I’m living my dream right now.
But are you looking forward to collaborating with any artist in the future?
No one in particular right now, but I do love Bruno Mars.
How are you dealing with the band’s popularity now?
We’re just more focused on our relationship with our music and fans. We make sure that we get the work done.
Any memorable experiences with fans?
Nothing too crazy, but a fan tattooed lyrics of “Let Your Hair Down” on her body, which was a great gesture.
What’s next for the group?
For now we’re just touring, meeting fans, promoting our second single and writing songs in hotel rooms.
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