Acclaimed British magician James More took some time from his schedule to chat with Greek-American journalist Markos Papadatos about his accomplishments and future endeavors; moreover, he discussed his admiration for the Greek islands.
“All I have done in my life is work, and work, and I have progressively gone up the ladder, but I have a long way to go. I am at the start of my career, really,” he said.
More was the first illusionist in history to perform at London’s O2 Arena to an audience of 15,000 fans, and that was an amazing experience for him. “That was the best single experience I have ever had, to be honest. To look out to 15,000 people is not something that you do every day. No other illusionist had ever performed there before. It was mind-blowing and I tried to take it all in. That was something that I will never forget,” he said.
Each day, he is motivated by life. “I love music, when I was a kid, I was into martial arts, I love dancing and Michael Jackson. I studied contemporary dance for three years and they let me incorporate the magic alongside it. I take a lot of my influences from things outside and inside the magic community,” he said. “I did my first magic show at the age of eight, and I made a conscious decision at the age of 13 that I wanted to do this forever. I was into juggling and ventriloquism and I just loved the stage. Magic was what provoked the biggest reaction from people around me, and that was what influenced me to go down that route.”
He listed David Blaine as a massive influence in his life. “I grew up watching David Blaine in England. He was the first guy to make it look cool,” he said.
For More, being on Britain’s Got Talent reality competition was a “daunting and scary experience.” “I was able to go on that program and show them that magic could be done in a commercial and an integral way in front of a live audience,” he said. “Magic is a reflex for people. It is something that amazes them.”
While on Britain’s Got Talent, his most impressive performance was his firey magic act, where he was able to wow the four judges and fascinate millions of audiences that were tuning in at home.
This year, he is a part of Illusionists 2.0, which is the biggest magic show in the world. “We are running that in Singapore, and we are going back to Perth next month. I have 20 theater dates for my own shows, which I do separately from the Illusionists 2.0 shows. There are a few things lined up,” he said.
He shared that he has been to Greece and has been afforded the privilege to visit several Greek islands. “I love Mykonos. I went biking around Mykonos and it was fantastic. We drove around the island freely, it was great,” he said. “I love Santorini as well. I saw the volcano there. I love the Greek island and all the history. It is one of my favorite places in the world.”
Looking back over the last decade in a rear-view mirror, More is able to see a “16-year-old boy with a dream, who is proud of the 26-year-old version of himself. In my case, I am very proud.”
For aspiring magicians and illusionists, he recommended that they all “join a magic club.” “We have a place in the U.K. called The Magic Circle, and in the United States, we have a place called The Magic Castle in Los Angeles, where people can speak to their peers. Practice as much as you can. Listen is the best advice I can give. If you are a good listener, then you are constantly learning, and you can only grow as a performer and as a person,” he said.
He shared that he does his own version of Houdini’s metamorphosis in his live shows, which is a slight variation, and the “suspension act” can be seen here. “For me, magic is an art form. How a trick is done is the last thing I think of. It’s about the theater, drama, the music and the presentation. All of that is more key, since anybody can do a magic trick. Magic is a way to take people away from their everyday stresses,” he said. “Everything is industrial and branded in a more commercial way than pulling rabbits out of hats. I knew that magic would only appeal to an audience if you brand it properly, and people like Criss Angel and David Blaine have proven that.”
More defined success as “Keeping the art of magic alive, but doing it in an integral way. Obviously, magic is very popular at the moment, and if you are a young person getting into it, you need to stay true to that art and its history, such as Houdini. Success is something that should be earned and respected, and not just handed to you. Fame is a by-product of hard work. I love what I do, and I love my art.”