From Street Magician to a Respected One—How does Dynamo do it?
Steven’s popularity has been proven by the awards that he has received throughout his years of being a street magician. His show, “Dynamo: Magician Impossible,” has won two times in a row at the Broadcast Awards for being chosen as the Best Entertainment Program. Steven has also been promoted by the well-known and respected group of professional magicians “The Magic Circle” as an Associate of the Inner Magic Circle with Silver Star, which simply proves just how much fame and popularity Steven has garnered all these years.
What makes Steven amazing as a magician is not his spectacular stunts or elaborate preparations, but his simple, yet mind-blowing card tricks that never seems to suffer a decline of fame among its patrons. Steven performs magic with almost anything he can get his hands on—from a simple pack of cards to anything that he can borrow from his audiences. The reason Steven does this is that it makes it more memorable for the person he is performing it for; most of the people that have been privileged to have their personal items included in Steven’s magical performances tend to keep the items because of the memory it has for being used for magic.
Steven says in an interview:
“I love to improvise; most of the time, a lot of it I make up as I go along. I like to take things that are around me, like a ninja, using his surroundings to attack. I like to use things and borrow things off people like their own personal possessions and create magic that’s really intimate so that it will be memorable for them.”
Steven greatly appreciates his natural proficiency in doing magic or illusionary tricks because of the positive changes that it has brought to his life. According to Steven, it was because of his talent in magic tricks that enabled him to become unique in a positive way, gaining him a lot of friends. In a lot of his interviews, Steven often says:
“At the beginning, people thought I was weird, but slowly it got to the point where people wanted to see me do things. Magic gave me the power to bring people to me. It gave me an edge, something to make me unique. The only reason I stood out before was being the smallest kid in school. This made me different, but in a way that was positive.”
Walking on Water is Just Like Playing Tricks with Cards
While a lot of us would often grade magic differently, Steven does not. This is why he is so special. Steven gives the same amount of effort and passion whether it would be performing a trick with cards or walking on water. He said once:
“I don't really like to put a scale on what I do. I treat walking on the Thames with the same approach as I treat a pack of cards. It's more about how amazing the magic is. I like doing magic with nothing, like just my hands.”
Dynamo’s Battle with Crohn’s Disease
But the most amazing thing about Steven is not his feats with magic—it is his unyielding spirit and persistence in the midst of a stormy situation in his life. Steven has Crohn’s disease, a type of inflammatory bowel condition that affects any part of the digestive tract, and causes illnesses like diarrhea, abdominal pain, weight loss or vomiting. In spite of this condition, Steven never gave up on life. Instead, he spends his time bringing joy to other people through his magical performances. He says:
“I had a lot of time on my hands. I realised in there that if I had died, what would people remember me for? My magic was the one thing that would leave me a legacy.”
A Grandparent for a Father
Steven Frayne was born in December 1982 in Bradford, England. He spent a lot of his childhood being raised by his single mother and grandfather, as his father was often in and out of jail due to his crimes. Because of this, Steven saw his grandfather more as a father figure; Steven’s grandfather would become the greatest influence in Steven’s life and would guide him into becoming who Steven is today.
Dynamo’s Biological Parents
As a child, Steven was of small stature and was often bullied by other children. As such, he grew up with a low sense of self-confidence and looked for attention in any way he could. What made matters worse was that he did not have a father. Steven’s mother got pregnant when she was only sixteen years old, and his father often spent most of his time in jail cells. Steven got an opportunity to speak to his father when he was eighteen years old, but by that time he was already resigned to the fact that he did not grow up with a father figure other than his grandfather. Steven recalled his early life in an interview:
“My mum had boyfriends, but I was at the age where I was old enough to know that this person wasn't my father, but too young to really fully understand the situation. It's not like I missed my dad. I didn't know, because I never had it. I spoke to him when I was about 18. He had just got out of prison and called my grandma to have a chat. I met up with him for a bit, but then it was kind of like, I don't really see myself as having a father any more. I've got past that age. I've had to raise myself, be the man in my own life.”
In spite of his unfortunate childhood, Steven found his father figure in his grandfather, who was a hustler in the game of pool and taught the young Steven about the tricks of the trade. As Steven further matured, his grandfather instilled in him a love for magic tricks, and encouraged the already willing Steven to follow what was in his heart—performing. Because of this, Steven owed much of who he is today to his grandfather. Steven says of his grandparents:
“They protected me and looked after me, and more than anything, they encouraged me. There were so many people who were telling me to get a proper job. My grandpa was the one person who always told me to pursue magic. He got me into it, and without his belief in me, I wouldn't have been able to get where I've got.”
When Steven first started doing magic tricks with cards, he got a somewhat lukewarm response from his audiences. It was not that the people did not like Steven’s tricks, but they were not amazed as during that time, there were already a lot of magicians and illusionists that were doing the same things Steven was doing. Feeling that something was missing in his performances, Steven looked for other things that he could incorporate in his magic performances to liven up his audience. It was in this time that he decided to include dance and hip hop music to his magic routines—it worked! After his first show with the new routines, Steven got a positive response from the crowd. Soon enough, he became famous by word of mouth.
From that time on, Steven decided fully to follow his career in performing magic. He dropped out of college, where he was taking a course on media studies so he can fully devote his time and effort in performing for people. As a start, Steven tagged along with his grandmother whenever she went to dog shows. One of these places was Las Vegas, where Steven wanted to go as he was quite certain he would be famous there. After visiting the famed city a few times, he went back to his hometown to train to be a croupier and received a gaming license.
With the help of his friends who gave him ideas on what to incorporate in his magic acts, Steven began to acquire increasing fame amongst his fellow Britons. Eventually, his popularity grew to such a point that he found himself performing for well-known and important people like Paris Hilton and Prince Charles. Steven’s performance for Prince Charles was astoundingly memorable: he bent his little finger like it was just a slab of clay, and the act quite terrified and excited the Prince of England.
Getting the name Dynamo
But aside from all of the fame that he has gained throughout this time, it was his performance in New York City’s Hilton Hotel that really threw him into the international spotlight. While performing alongside magic’s biggest names such as David Blaine and Aaron Fisher, someone from the audience shouted, “This kid’s a dynamo!” And thus, the legend of the magician Dynamo was born.
Performing Magic Tricks for the Stars
From that time on, Steven began to appear in various television shows alongside famous artists such as Snoop Dogg, Nelly Furtado, and Joss Stone. Steven was also invited to appear in many television interviews, and was chosen to represent and endorse well-known brands such as Motorola, Nokia, Sony, Adidas, and Ericsson.
It was not long afterwards that Dynamo gained amazing international popularity and started to perform in various places around the world. In 2009, Dynamo made a series of performances that really astounded stars, such as Matt Lucas, the comedian from the show “Little Britain” (Dynamo levitated Matt four feet off the ground at the Emirates Stadium), Max Rushden, Niel Ruddock, and Helen Chamberlain.
In 2010, Dynamo performed a magic trick in front of Robbie Williams and Davina McCall where he appeared to convert lottery tickets into cash in front of the two actors. In the same day, he levitated himself in front of the famous James Corden. Dynamo went on doing numerous other performances throughout the year in his tour.
Launching Dynamo: Magician Impossible
In 2011, Dynamo starred in his own show, “Dynamo: Magician Impossible” where he performed amazing feats and spectacular magic tricks. The show featured a variety of well-known stars, such as Ian Brown, David Haye, Mat Horne, Natalie Imburglia, Robert Sheehan, and Noel Fielding. That same year, Dynamo was inducted into the Magic Circle, a famous magician’s society. Two years later, he was promoted to Associate of the Inner Magic Circle with Silver Star, one of the highest ranks in the organization.
Dynamo Gets Awards
Dynamo: Magician Impossible garnered so much popularity that it was renewed for a second season in 2012. That same year the show earned the Broadcast Award for Best Entertainment Program, which showcased just how famous Dynamo has become. The show recently won the award again, and also got a Virgin Media Award for being the TV show of the year.
Dynamo Likened to David Blaine
In the world of magic, the name David Blaine is most popular. And since Dynamo is just as great an illusionist as Blaine, it was inevitable for the two to get compared. Some publications touted Dyanamo as "Britain's answer to Blaine." Blaine is known for doing death-defying stunts all over America. While Dynamo is making a name in magic, he is yet to try taking Brits' breath away by putting his life on the line just to entertain them. For now, he just wants to amaze by playing tricks on the mind without harming himself.
Dynamo/Steven’s story does not end here. Up to today, in spite of all the battles he is facing (including his condition), he never stops performing, as it is the one thing that Steven truly feels he could make a difference in someone else’s life. As Steven tells his interviewer one time:
“It's very weird. I don't think I'll ever fully feel this is normal. It's crazy the way people have taken to me and my show. One thing the first series gave me, the success of it, was the confidence that people like me for who I am. For the first time in years, I feel accepted.”
Steven’s life story teaches us a very powerful and inspiring lesson that we can all apply in our lives: “It does not matter where you are from or what kind of background you may have; if you are passionate about making people happy, then you are going to succeed.” Like Steven, whose sickness or unfortunate childhood did not stop him from becoming the success he is today, let us not be brought down by our own infirmities; rather, let us focus on our strengths and develop them and we might someday make a great impact in the world just as Dynamo did.
Awards and Achievements
- 2012: Promoted to Associate of the Inner Magic Circle with Silver Star by The Magic Circle
- 2012: Received the Broadcast Award for Best Entertainment Program (Dynamo: Magician Impossible)
- 2013: Received the Virgin Media Award for TV Show of the Year (Dynamo: Magician Impossible)
- 2013: Received the Broadcast Award for Best Entertainment Program (Dynamo: Magician Impossible)