On Saturday 25th June 2011, crowds gathered on the banks of the River Thames as an extraordinary feat unfolded. A man in a red jacket was seemingly ‘walking on water’, striding out across the great river under the iconic backdrop of the Houses of Parliament. As pictures emerged the news travelled fast, with initial coverage across the British mainstream media and later pickup as far a field, as China, Australia and South Africa.
This had been one of the biggest and most audacious illusions in History, an a par with David Copperfield’s vanishing of the Statue of Liberty and Houdini’s great escapes… but this wasn’t the work of one of Vegas’ elite, it had been performed by a young magician from a tough part of Bradford, who went by the name of Dynamo.
Tipped as the most exciting British magician to emerge in decades, Dynamo had stunned audiences and celebrities around the world with his genre-bending cocktail of large scale illusions, incredible sleight of hand and innovative street magic.
The 28 year-old’s list of celebrity fans now reads like a ‘who’s who’ of the Hollywood elite; Will Smith, Diddy, Jay Z, Coldplay, Russell Brand, Gwyneth Paltrow, The Black Eyed Peas andParis Hilton are just a few of the names who’ve raved about his unique talent.
Dynamo stunned Tinie Tempah by pulling a chain through his own neck, amazed US celebrity power couple Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore by eating a piece of string and pulling it down the length of his torso, billionaire Richard Branson physically bowed down to him after watching one of his performances and Lindsay Lohan was left speechless after he levitated her from a chair.
Growing up on the rundown Delph Hill housing estate in Bradford, with a father who spent large periods of time away in prison, Dynamo (real name Steven Frayne) suffered with a debilitating form of Crohn’s disease as a youngster. Having been introduced to magic by his Granddad, the young Steven Frayne developed his skills as a means to fend off the bullies who teased him about his disease, quickly gaining a reputation as a unique talent within his local community with his incredible sleight of hand.
Many years later Steven appeared at the New York Hilton during Houdini’s centenary celebrations where he performed in front of his peers including acclaimed magicians Aaron Fisher and David Blaine. After a stunning display someone in the audience shouted “this Kid’s a f***ing DYNAMO!” the name stuck and a new era in magic was born.
At an early age Dynamo was inspired by the impact of hip hop culture, local breakdancers who fused many styles and MC’s who promoted themselves through the use of the mix tape circuit, to create something new. Steven planned to modernize the magic scene by combining his skills with elements from the urban dance scene.
In 2004, after moving to London, Dynamo set out to fulfill stage one of his plan, the creation of the first ever magic ‘mix-tape’. Along with a small team he filmed his performances on the streets of London and backstage at events, where he managed to blag his way in front of the stars by impressing the doormen and tour managers along the way.
Although it was filmed on a cheap hand held camera, the results were better than he could have imagined. Within a year he had footage with the likes of Ian Brown, Mike Skinner, Lil Jon and Snoop, to name but a few.
Dynamo was fast becoming the hottest performer on the party circuit and his appearances included backstage magic at the Coldplay tour at Crystal palace, The Gorillaz shows at the Harlem Apollo in New York, and a performance on stage at the TED conference in California on the same bill as Matt Groening (creator of the Simpsons) and ex-US Vice President, Al Gore.
2007 started with a bang. Actor Will Smith presented Dynamo with an award on behalf of the Princes Trust for his success after receiving a start-up loan from the Charity. During his acceptance speech Dynamo started to choke on a polo mint and without warning pulled a chain through his neck with the Polo attached. The audience where amazed including Will Smith who gave Dynamo a ringing endorsement, “that man just pulled a lifesaver out of his neck! You scared my son with your magic tricks but that was absolutely stunning!”
The year continued as it started with a guest appearance on Friday Night with Jonathan Ross and a performance on MTV’s EMA’s where he amazed the likes of The Foo Fighters, Nelly Furtado and Joss Stone in front of a worldwide audience of 1.5 billion people.
In 2008, Dynamo appeared on the catwalk for Naomi Campbell’s Fashion for Relief and flew to LA to shoot an episode of Snoop Dogg’s hit show ‘Fatherhood’. He amazed guests at a private dinner for Jay-Z and performed at his friend Lewis Hamilton’s birthday party. Then in 2010 he participated in Sport Relief on BBC 1 where he turned signed lottery tickets into cash in front of Robbie Williams and Davina McCall.
His debut TV series ‘Dynamo: Magician Impossible’ was broadcast on Sky Channel Watch on the 7th July, and quickly broke all viewing records with over 1m viewers of the first episode in a slot which usually see’s only 100K.