Delving into Dreams - Jeremy Pei Soars To The Stratosphere of Performance

Written by Joshua

Jeremy Pei is well known as a magical entertainer extant in Singapore. Come 18 September this year, he will be presenting his third public stage show called Redefine Magic: The Dream at the classy ambience of Raffles Jubilee Hall, Raffles Hotel.

Jeremy performs magical illusions on stage and close-up. He delivers lectures at magic conventions. He continues to compete at regional and international magic conventions. He also actively creates new magic methods and magical products. He has performed at the prestigious lighthouse of magic: The Magic Castle. He is also a skillful juggler. And he is only in his mid-twenties!

Jeremy was the first magician to make significant inroads into the international magic arena having won his first competition in Perth, Australia.  He has been relentless in his pursuit for excellence since his first win about a decade ago, and his competition experiences have fuelled his growing passion for performing and competing. Having competed in the Shanghai International Magic Festival with Jeremy, I can attest that it is a stressful proposition and certainly not for the faint at heart. It can be brutal and ruthless, especially when you are alone within a sea of unfamiliar faces. However, he seems very comfortable in the competitive arena, pitting his originality and personality against the very best in the world.

FISM is the equivalent of magic’s Olympics; it is held once every three years.

Jeremy was the first Singaporean to compete in 2009 in Beijing in the Close-up category. Although he did not win, he made an indelible impression on the audience. He was, subsequently, noticed and more bookings for him followed up at other magic conventions. Jeremy was 14-years-old when he won his first Stage contest in a convention in Perth. It was a glimpse of a myriad of very good things to come in his future, as he continued with his annual pilgrimage to conventions where he could showcase his magical creations, and standout Stage and Close-Up acts.

In early-July he made Singapore very proud for getting second in the Stage competition of the IBM Annual Convention in San Diego, USA. The last time a Singaporean magician placed was, an unofficial, fourth at the IBM Annual Convention.


‘When I first knew Jeremy Pei, he was a very young boy with a very traditional Beatles hairstyle. Over the years, he has improved on his magic by stepping up his interactive skills, elaborateness of show, and choice of illusions. He is a versatile magician that is good on stage as well as close-up. Jeremy is a generous person when it comes to magic. He will share what he knows and is always very humble. When I grow up, I want to be just like him!” ~ Bernard Sim, Expert Coin Worker and creator of ‘Really Linked’

Jeremy Pei has come a long way, but in a very short time frame, to achieve international acclaim.  I remember him as a shy, young boy who could hardly articulate. His passion for magic and his tenacity for doing things well and to excel have enabled him to reach international stardom in magic in such a short time. Despite his success, Jeremy remains a gentleman to his friends and is always around to those who need his help. He is truly magical! ~ John Teo, President IBM 115

Jeremy is an excellent, all round, prize-winning magician who is equally at home on stage, close up and parlour.  He continues to contribute to IBM Ring 115 by his regular participation and performances. He has also released several excellent products to the magic community. ~ Long-time IBM 115 member.


He will be presenting his full-evening gala show, together with the likes of Shoot Ogawa (Parlour Magician of the Year, Magic Castle USA) and quick-change artist Avery Chin (Malaysia). The Dream will be held on 18 September at the Raffles Jubilee Hall where he showcased his very first large-scale stage performance to the paying public. Prior to that, he will host close friend Shoot Ogawa in a one-night-only lecture on 16 September; the expert Japanese sleight-of-hand maestro was one of two renowned magicians who recommended Jeremy to The Magic Castle, having witnessed the latter’s magical passion and prowess.

As a magic dealer, Jeremy has released many of his own magical effects including his POWERFUL ROPE MAGIC DVD, and ULTIMATE FIRE MAGIC - MIND BLOWING FIRE MAGIC FROM YOUR FINGERTIPS (DVD). He made his debut of both tricks at his first magic convention. Jeremy was courageous and confident enough to organize his first magic convention with
strong support from the professional magical community, and amateur magic clubs.


The following interview was conducted soon after his whirlwind tour of the USA, from Los Angeles to San Diego.

Enrico Varella: Let’s talk about your first feather in your cap: Describe your experience working at The Magic Castle.

Jeremy Pei: It was a childhood dream come true for me to perform at The Magic Castle. It was a great week sharing the stage with some top-notch magicians from around the world! I performed at the Castle’s Palace of Mystery together with Albert Tam (Hong Kong) and Danny Cole (USA). The castle was packed every night, and on some nights it was tough to get into a show. The audiences were all very supportive as they were there to experience magic. Contrary to what many people think about The Magic Castle, that it is just a place for magicians to hang out, about 80% of the crowd are lay audience, so it was really fun to perform for them.

EV: I agree with you, having visited it on at least two occasions. It exudes a special atmosphere for magicians.

JP: I really enjoyed the Castle’s atmosphere, hanging out with magicians at the bar after shows, catching shows at the Close Up Gallery and Parlor of Prestidigitation. It was an awesome week of magic! Due to the 4th of July holiday in the USA I only did a 6-day week at the Castle. On Independence Day, there was a family day carnival and of course we were all invited. There were carnival game stalls and lots of American food was served. It was indeed an honor to be a part of The Magic Castle family.

EV: How did you get involved in this project?

JP: I planned to perform at the Castle a week before the IBM Convention in San Diego, This gave me a good practice ground for my competition act and it was also good timing because it is a long way from Singapore to USA. Everyone knew that it would be tough to get booked at the Castle before a major magic convention in the USA. However, through recommendation by my good friend/mentor Jeff McBride and Shoot Ogawa, I got lucky and was booked for the week at the Castle just before the IBM Convention.

EV: Your second feather in your cap: What was it like winning the second place for Stage at the IBM Convention?

JP: To be honest, I was shocked when I won the award. I took on the competition as a platform to showcase my magic to the American magic community. It was already an honor for me to be a part of the Gold Medal Finalist show at the IBM Convention! One of the reasons I didn’t expect to score was that competing alongside me were both the champion and 1st runner-up of the SAM Convention in Atlanta, just a week before the IBM Convention. I thought that both of them would stand a good chance in this competition as they wore the crowns for 1st and 2nd place at the SAM Contest. It was really an unexpected surprise for me and, of course, I am very happy for this achievement as it was another childhood dream of mine come true.

EV: Describe your experience performing for the Gold Cup and Gold Medal at the same convention. How did you do overall?

JP: When I first told all my friends that I was competing in both close up and stage contest at the IBM, plus having a dealer’s booth, they all thought I was crazy. Indeed I was really busy at the convention; however it was all worth my while. The Close-Up contest was tougher as we had to do our acts three times during the preliminary and four times at the Finals. Also, there were stronger competitors at the close-up contest, including past-FISM Winners and past-IBM Junior Champions. It was indeed another blessing to compete in the Gold Cups Finals.

I had a tough time during the finals of the close-up contest, as we have to do our act four times and the rooms were on different floors. For people who know about my close-up act, to reset the act and move the entire act plus my own sound system to another room, then set up the whole act on stage again is no joke. Moreover, we only have minutes in-between our acts to set up. From the positive feedback and response of the audience, I think my act did well at the convention but, most importantly, I gained more experience and also ideas from other seniors for my act. For the stage contest, we did the Gold Medal competition at the famous Balboa Theatre in Downtown San Diego. I was comfortable with the stage and felt that all the performers put on a great show for the conventioneers. It was fun sharing the stage with the other five finalists and Rich Bloch (host of the Gold Medal Show).


EV: What did your learn from your competition experience? What was it like being a convention attendee at the IBM Annual Convention?

JP: I learnt that it is not about winning in a competition, it is about doing your best. It is also very important to be humble with your achievements. My first IBM Convention was very special because - apart from doing the competition - I participated in the Dealer’s Room too. Unfortunately my booth was closed for the first three days of the convention as I was competing. I met a lot of wonderful people, shared magic and exchanged ideas. To be honest, I did not manage to experience the whole convention proper, because the whole time I was either competing or at my dealers’ booth.

EV: Your third feather in your cap: What was your experience performing at Jeff McBride’s Wonderground like? How did this project come about?

JP: I had a blast performing at The Wonderground and the Vegas audiences were simply awesome. The Wonderground was created an avenue to share performing arts with the lay public. There were no advertisement and publicity done like the Las Vegas shows, however the Wonderground was always packed every month. There were on going performances on stage and at the close up room and we get big names in magic coming in just to hang out! Jeff told me to be apart of The Wonderground when I told him I would be spending a week in Las Vegas after the IBM Convention, and it just so happen to coincide with The Wonderground event. I have heard so much about The Wonderground online and in Magic Magazines, thus it was an honor to share the stage with Jeff and all the other Magicians. I highly recommend everyone to visit Jeff McBride’s Wonderground if you are in Vegas during the 3rd Thursday of the month.

EV: How does it feel to be the third person/act at the famous Magic Castle? Previously, it was Prakash and Lawrence Khong & Priscilla.

JP: I am honored to join them on the list as Singaporean Performers at The Magic Castle. No matter who is performing there, we hold the responsibility to do our country proud and perform at our best for the guests coming to The Magic Castle.


EV: Tell us more about your live show in September at the Raffles Jubilee.

JP: It has been a while since I last did a full evening theatre show; I am excited to showcase a lot of new material that night. Japan’s Shoot Ogawa will be performing his brand new stage and close up act. Performing alongside will be Malaysia’s Avery & Sylvia with their Quick Change act. For many who have seen my previous shows, Redefine Magic: The Dream will
represent the transformation of my past work.


EV: What is it like to stage a full, live, evening show?

JP: Producing and performing in my own show can be a nightmare, however I am very thankful and blessed with a great team, plus friends and supporters who make the whole show worthwhile.


EV: I know that you are friends with Lu Chen. In fact, you introduced me to him at the 2003 Shanghai International Magic Festival. What are your thoughts about having a regular television series like Lu Chen does in Taiwan?

JP: It would be a blessing if I were offered a magic television series for the mainstream audience. For now, I am just doing my best, and let God do the rest.

EV: Would you consider staging a larger show like at the Singapore Indoor Stadium?

JP: I don’t see that happening in the near future however if I were offered such an opportunity, I would definitely take on the challenge.


EV: How far do you see your career as a magical performer? Will you take the consultant pathway eventually?

JP: Magic is an art I love very much and will be a part of me for the rest of my life. However, sometimes it is sad for me to see performers take on magic purely as work, and thus stop learning and advancing the art. I don’t blame anyone, as it can be tough to make a living purely by performing in Singapore. I am lucky that, so far, I am still blessed with regular work. However, I am also in the midst of developing various businesses (Magic and non-Magic related). I don’t think I will have that much energy when I am older, so most definitely I would pursue the path of a consultant and coach during the later part of my career.

EV: Who are your major influences in magic?

JP: David Copperfield, Greg Frewin, Rick Thomas, Jason Byrne, Lance Burton, Lu Chen, Jeff Mcbride, Cyril Takayama and many more! Without them elevating the art of magic, there won’t be magicians like us today.

EV: Who are the magicians in Asia you think are progressing the Art of Magic?

JP: Cyril Takayama and Lu Chen are definitely the 2 most well known magicians in Asia for the mainstream audiences.

EV: What do you believe would be the future of Singapore magic?

JP: With the Integrated Resorts/Casino and also the increasing amount of local magic events, I see a very promising future for Singapore Magic.

EV: What are your thoughts about performing at IBM 115’s 60th anniversary mini-convention?

JP: The event would definitely be a milestone for Singapore’s Magic History, and I am indeed honored to be apart of it. I am looking forward to spending the day sharing magic with all the participants.

EV: Summarise your stage act: what does it represent?

JP: In FISM context, it would be classified as General Magic. I feature a dynamic linking rings routine, candles manipulation, canes production, a lot of fire magic and juggling stunts. When I am on stage, I like to take my audience on a whirlwind rollercoaster ride.

EV: Your close-up act: how different is your style from your stage presence and persona?

JP: Despite the different tempo and flow of my close up act and stage act, my performing persona is pretty much the same. However, I focus more on storytelling to share various emotions.

EV: Do you think magic has a limited shelf-life? Magic secrets are so easily available that it has become a commodity. Are we experiencing magic’s impending death/demise?

JP: Magic is an art that everyone can enjoy, regardless of age and ethnicity. Bad magicians are the only cause of Magic’s death. As performing magicians, we are responsible for receiving the right education and performing to our best for any audience.

EV: Projects in the pipeline for you?

JP: Magic Community wise, I was given an invitation to the FFFF Convention next year. I am also planning to compete at the Golden Lion Award Competition next year at the World Magic Seminar in Las Vegas. If all goes well, I hope to travel to the USA more often. Also, I would like to open my own Magic Studio next year to house my illusions and a showroom for my range of magic products.

EV: Thanks for the interview, Jeremy!


Photo-credits: Jeremy Pei