About Mr. Magi

Alternative pop-rock artist Mr. Magi had envisioned his music in his mind’s ear long before he heard it blaring from studio speakers. Finally, he’s captured these elusive ideals on his upcoming album, Chasing Butterflies, to be preceded by a series of singles, starting January, 2022. The title is a reference to Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “happiness is a butterfly” parable. And, though literate references and ideas abound in his lyrics and narratives, you don’t have to be a scholar to enjoy the alt-rock stylings of Mr. Magi. 


“The story of chasing the butterfly is a metaphor for a type of insanity—the artist chasing that sound or that vision just out of reach. I didn’t lose my mind making this album, but I have been chasing what you hear on it for a long time,” the Berkeley, California-based artist says with a laugh. “I just wasn’t ready before—my vocals weren’t there; I didn’t know how to make these abstract ideas concrete; and I had to find my true artistic identity.” 


The Mr. Magi aesthetic is a pan-era and pan-genre perspective where the strength of the songs, the artist’s voice, and the artist’s creative fingerprint transcends stylistic boxes. Thus, there is a cohesion in the eclecticism of the Mr. Magi oeuvre. Within this catalog of songs, you will hear influences from 1970s disco, fizzy 1980s synth-pop, the brooding emotiveness of 1990s grunge, and beyond. Mr. Magi sings in a richly expressive baritone, exploring a stunning range of emotions from a low-register vocal vantage point. As a songwriter, he has an Elton John-like in-the-wings collaborator. His Bernie Taupin is mad scientist guitarist and songwriter John Pedini. The tone of Mr. Magi songs is darkly humorous—finding healing in comedy through exploring such inevitable tragedies as suicide, divorce, and lost relationships. Here, often weighty lyrics are contrasted with upbeat melodic alternative pop.  


“I am interested in those highly intelligent sensitive figures who can’t find meaning in rolling a rock up a hill; the ill-fated romantics, like those found in the worlds of Ernest Hemingway, Sylvia Plath, and Kurt Cobain,” Mr. Magi shares.  


The path to Mr. Magi’s Chasing Butterflies began in Somerville, Massachusetts when he heard wailing blues blaring out of an apartment. Mr. Magi grew up with a father who was in a blues-gospel band, but he always struggled with the tension between the comfort and security of a steady job, and the romance of the road and being a musician. However, in that very moment of hearing the effortless blues emanating from the apartment, Mr. Magi’s soul took over—he had to know this musician. That weekend Mr. Magi heard the same music, and when he approached the apartment, he met lifelong friend and collaborator John Pedini.  


After their meeting, Mr. Magi began to home in on his artistry, and make that necessary transition from emulating his idols to being an artist in his own right. “I didn’t know my voice back then, but, over time, I got to know it, and I figured out who I am as an artist. Now, I am confident and comfortable, and releasing a professional product,” Mr. Magi shares.  


Mr. Magi currently has a collection of 10 songs he will be releasing as a series of singles before they are bundled together as an album. The song, “Dead Roses,” is an ill-fated relationship song snuck in an anthemic pop-rock tune, featuring an acoustic core lavished with 1980s synth-pop textures and a driving rhythm section. The song’s lyrics are literate and emotive, one choice passage reads: All the dreams we took for granted, like seeds that we planted, before the storm/Washed away when it poured/But they keep giving us more/Dead Roses, Dead, Dead Roses, Dead Roses, Yea.The balmy, “6 Seconds Away,” is a lilting reggae song about suicide—yes, you read that right. “This song is designed to cause cognitive dissonance to the listener upon first hearing it. The tension is caused by the upbeat melody and laid back reggae rhythm juxtaposed by the dark content,” Mr. Magi says. It’s a tragic comedy with a catchy hook, and that paradox in moods evokes the twisted works of the Coen Brothers and William Falkner.  


“Entering Sharon” bursts with playful double entendre—is the Sharon in the lyrics a woman, or is the song a paean to Sharon, Massachusetts? Here, Mr. Magi is tastefully provocative with veiled but evocative lyrics such as: And Sharon’s got the kind of face that seems a little out of place/But I can recognize her in my dreams/A blur of landscape in mid-air but it’s neither here nor there/It’s always some point in between. Musically, the song comes off like Vince Clarke-era Depeche Mode with poppy and spacy synth textures set against an earthy and elegant core of piano and acoustic guitar. Mr. Magi gets existential on the disco-funk of “Turning 30,” a track with dark lyrics hidden inside a slinky, Nile Rogers (Chic, Sister Sledge) style groove-pop jam.  


It’s been something of a hero’s journey for Mr. Magi as he set out on a long winding adventure to find and document the music within him. Each finished song for Chasing Butterflies has been a milestone moment for Mr. Magi as the music and ideas that have been living inside of him can now finally be shared. He says: “Having a song come out completely like you want it, and it not getting lost in translation is so meaningful for me. This is what I’ve been chasing my whole life.”