After the hit song 'Rude', the Canadian band MAGIC! (from left: Alex Tanas, Ben Spivak, Mark Pellizzer and Nasri Atweh) is ready to release its second single.
Canadian reggae-fusion band MAGIC! is flying high on the success of its hit single Rude.
Call it magic. Ever since the first time songwriter/producer Nasri and guitarist Mark Pellizzer worked together, it was clear they shared a connection. Then, during a writing session in 2012, Pellizzer played Nasri a reggae groove. The latter loved it so much that he suggested on the spot that they start a band, something like a modern-day version of The Police, which had been well-known for its reggae-fusion hits in the 1980s.
“I think we started off with that idea (of being a modern day The Police), but later gained our own sound and became MAGIC!,” said Nasri (full name Nasri Atweh), who is a huge fan of the British rock band and had always wanted to start a project that merged reggae, rock, pop, and a little soul.
While most people wouldn’t associate Canada with reggae music, he explained that there is actually a pretty big Caribbean population in the country, so it’s definitely part of their culture.
“We used to go to parties and hear all the reggae music … I always felt like when I sang over a reggae groove, I was able to articulate myself lyrically, and I really enjoyed it,” he said during a phone interview from the United States.
“So when Mark played it, it felt good and we both bonded over it. And that’s what music is about. It’s about a bond, it’s about having fun.”
With Nasri on lead vocals, Pellizzer on guitars, Alex Tanas on drums, and Ben Spivak on bass, it was clear from the offset that the band was meant for great things – in fact, they even named themselves after the way everything they did just seem to work “just like magic!”.
MAGIC!’s first single, Rude, was released on Oct 12, 2013, and instantly catapulted the band to stardom with its ridiculously catchy beat, and instantly sing-able chorus. The song, which tells the story of a guy asking a father for his marriage blessing and getting rejected, recently hit No. 1 on the US Billboard and the British singles charts; as well as peaking at No. 2 in Australia and New Zealand.
Were they surprised when Rude turned out to be such a big hit? “Well, you never expect something is going to be that big. I thought it would be a popular song, but now I can’t believe how many people actually know the song! It’s pretty crazy!” he said.
As one half of writing and production duo The Messengers, Nasri is no stranger to chart-topping hit territory, having written songs for the likes of Justin Bieber, Pitbull, Chris Brown and Christina Aguilera. He’s also a Grammy winner, having won the Best R&B Album award for his work on Chris Brown’s F.A.M.E. in 2012.
However, with MAGIC!’s quick ascension to the top and the recent release of the band’s full album, Don’t Kill The Magic, Nasri hasn’t had time to work with anyone else other than his band. “Everything got so crazy, and I’m just too busy flying all over the world with MAGIC! that it’s difficult to work with other artistes right now,” he mused.
For now, he is fully focused on making sure MAGIC! doesn’t turn out to be a one-hit wonder. “We’ve only just got started, I mean, Rude was just our first single! Now the album is finally out, and Let Your Hair Down will be our next single,” he said, adding that they don’t plan to change their style anytime soon.
“We just want to make music that we and everyone likes. That’s our goal – to keep writing good songs, to live our dreams, and see the world!”
> MAGIC!’s new album, Don’t Kill The Magic, is available in record stores now.