Karan Singh, popularly also known as Karan Singh ‘Magic’, is a magician, psychological illusionist, hypnotist, mentalist & YouTuber (with close to 2Mn subscribers). This basically means, he’s a thought reader, mind reader, lie detector and does some very interesting magic! He got into magic when he was 11 years old when he’d gone for a summer camp in Kulu Manali and met a magician there. He was very interested and continued to explore the art thereon. However, he never thought to take it up professionally; only because he wasn’t sure if he had it in him. Sometime around when he was 16, a friend offered him to do a show for 1,000 Rs at a birthday party. He had to go table to table, showing around his magic tricks. He took it up, and much to his surprise, a lot of inquires started coming in after that and before he knew it, he was a ‘professional magician’.
When he realized he wanted to have an edge and wanted to do something different, he started studying the psychological side of magic. His father took him to watch a show by David Baline’s director in Boston, and that’s where his perception of magic truly changed. Post that, he spent a lot of time doing his research and learning new things and that’s when magic met psychology for him.
But it hasn’t really been easy. “My early days after the birthday parties were at bars. I used to be the creep walking around in a lounge with a deck of cards in my hand going up to people’s tables and interrupting their conversations. But the response was phenomenal. People had no clue that something like this exists and once you suck them in to your world of magic, they are happy to go along for the ride. I used to perform every Wednesday and Thursday in Hauz Khas Village 7 years ago and every week I started noticing a few people who used to come back to the place just to see me perform and it was a beautiful feeling. I also started doing corporate shows around then because there’s only so much money you can make of off birthday parties and bars. I still to this date do the corporate shows and have grown a strange fondness for them. They pay my bills and I constantly work to upgrade the show and make it as entertaining as possible for the people and while most performers find corporate shows soul sucking (which some of them are), I’ve learned to enjoy them. They let me be financially stable and do the things that I really want to do,” says Karan.
He adds, “Being a performer is the most satisfying thing on the planet but can also be emotionally and mentally taxing. You can go from being on stage and being loved by a thousand people one moment and alone on your drive back wondering why that one person in the audience didn’t applaud and pulling yourself into misery the next. And that’s just the emotional side of it, in a country like India where the market for magic was virtually non-existent or limited to kid’s birthday parties, getting people to accept that my art form was meant for a mature audience; and have them come out to shows was a challenge, still is. But it’s one thing I absolutely love, I think there has been no better time to be a magician in India ever.”
Apart from all this, he also runs his own YouTube channel, with almost 2 Million subscribers. He also has various videos with multiple celebrities on his channel and Aamir Khan is the inspiration to one of his most popular tricks. “Doing shows at corporates also helped build a network. They would have their brand ambassadors show up and I would do a couple of tricks with them. Those celebrities then invited me to their house parties and/or movie launches etc. where I got to meet other actors, sport stars and the circle kind of grew. All of this was happening before YouTube happened for me so by the time videos came about, I was friends with a few of them and requested them to be a part of videos. One of them was Aamir Khan. I was performing for his friends and family to celebrate the success of Dangal and I knew Aamir is someone who knows how to solve a Rubik cube in less than a minute so I designed a trick where I could solve a cube in under 20 seconds. After the show Aamir said, ‘Won’t it be cool if someone else could solve the cube?’ And a lightbulb went off in my head and for the next year I had a trick in my show where I would get someone from the audience, someone who had no idea how Rubik cubes worked and they would be able to solve it in under a minute, it was pretty awesome,” says Karan.
Karan left us with a quote that said, ‘Is your work more fun than fun?’ If it isn’t, you should quit. It’s that simple. For him, work is his idea of more fun than fun. He would rather do a show than watch a movie or go to a bar or go shopping, and that’s probably one of the most passionate things we’ve ever heard someone say!