Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Leading Juno Nominee Magic! Has More Tricks Coming, Singer Promises

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Leading Juno Nominee Magic! Has More Tricks Coming, Singer Promises

Article excerpt

Do you believe in Magic!? Nasri Atweh does


TORONTO - After spending a year reaching for pop music's brass ring, Magic! mastermind Nasri Atweh has lately been more into a different kind of hoop.

You might have seen the Toronto native at the NBA's recent celebrity all-star game, wearing the jersey of Raptors guard Kyle Lowry and performing (of course) the band's gently reggae-scented chart-topper "Rude."

And reached by phone recently in Nashville, Atweh was still catching his breath after shooting around at the local YMCA.

"We just picked up a couple games here," said a cheerful Atweh, who divides his NBA loyalties between Toronto and the two teams in L.A., his adopted home. "It's the way we stay fit."

Doesn't he get recognized on the court, given that he authored a contagious summer air freshener that topped the U.S. charts for six straight weeks?

"It's funny, when I first walk in, people give me that look like: 'Do I know you?' But they probably don't," he replied. "I don't think I'm that recognizable yet.

"Hopefully, the music stays the most recognizable thing."

It's a rare moment of studied modesty from the typically cocksure Atweh.

It doesn't worry him that the band has yet to land a second single in the U.S.

He points out that "Rude"'s lingering on the charts there is a positive development, and that Canada is the only country in which Magic! has tried another trick (resulting in two more top 25 songs here).

How about sales for June's full-length "Don't Kill the Magic," which remain shy of Atweh's admittedly grand ambition?

"It's just starting," he responded. "For us to reach our goal, which is a million, it's going to take three or four songs.

"So far everybody who has bought the album -- thank you very much -- has loved it, and responded the same way: 'I could listen to it from top to bottom.'"

His confidence was validated by the Juno Awards, which serenaded the quartet with a leading five nominations heading into this weekend's gala in Hamilton, including best single, songwriter and breakthrough group of the year. …

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