With the Waste Management Phoenix Open at the end of January, and the Super Bowl in early February, Magic! lead singer/guitarist Nasri Atweh will be in somewhat familiar territory.
A fledgling golfer, the Canadian reggae-tinged singer is working to improve his game, but he can’t compare himself to the hulking men who will battle it out in Super Bowl XLIX at University of Phoenix Stadium.
“I played football in high school as quarterback, but I sucked, LOL,” Atweh writes in an email interview while Magic! was overseas.
He’s learning a thing or two about golf from drummer Alex Tanas, the avid sports fan in the band, known for its ubiquitous song “Rude.”
“Alex and I play golf all the time, whenever we have a break on the road,” Atweh explains.
“Alex has been playing since he was 14 and is teaching me how to golf. Alex is the big sports fan. We’re from Toronto, so we root for the Argonauts from the Canadian Football League.”
Hits—both the musical and sports types—are nothing new to Atweh. Part of the writing and production duo The Messengers, Atweh spearheaded the New Kids on the Block reunion in 2007. Besides writing tracks for them, he has penned songs for Justin Bieber, David Guetta, Shakira, Cody Simpson, Pitbull, Christina Aguilera, Chris Brown and Big Time Rush.
The Messengers’ work garnered two Grammy Award nominations for 2011 Best Pop Vocal Album for Justin Bieber (My World 2.0), 2011 Best Contemporary R&B Album for Chris Brown (Graffiti), and a win for 2012 Best R&B Album for Chris Brown (F.A.M.E.), as well as their collaboration with Justin Bieber/Rascal Flatts in “That Should Be Me” that won a 2011 CMT Music Award for Best Collaborative Video.
The success of Magic! and Atweh’s songwriting career have allowed him to tour the world. Among his highlights were Magic! performing at the American Music Awards and the Latin Grammys in the same week. A forthcoming tour with Maroon 5 is a “very special moment” for Magic!, too.
Locally, Magic! will perform at the first DIRECTV Super Fan Festival as part of the Super Bowl festivities in Glendale.
The festival will feature 12 concerts beginning at 5 p.m. daily Wednesday, January 28, to Friday, January 30, at the Pendergast Family Farm near Westgate.
The multi-stage festival will also feature performances by Zac Brown Band, Calvin Harris, Imagine Dragons and Snoop Dogg on the DIRECTV Super Fan Stage. Preceding the main event musical acts including Thomas Rhett, Jason Derülo, Sam Hunt, The Cadillac Three, and Magic! will perform at the HGTV Lodge.
“Our show, we feel, is getting more and more comfortable every day,” Atweh says. “Being a new band this is something that can take (our) time. We like to show our fans a good time and we tell our fans don’t be afraid to dance and enjoy some music.”
During his travels, though, Atweh has seen a few similarities in music scenes.
“Everywhere we’re going we are seeing that people really like pop music,” Atweh says. “Toronto is really similar to Seattle in that they have a real rootsy music scene. We grew up listening to reggae a lot because Toronto has a large West Indie influence and is a real melting pot of music and culture.”
Atweh and the rest of the band—guitarist Mark Pellizzer and bassist Ben Spivak—firmly believe in the album from which “Rude” came, Don’t Kill the Magic. In 2015, the band is going to continue to work on building its fanbase.
“We have a great album we believe in and a great team that supports us,” he says. “Now that we are on our next single, ‘Let Your Hair Down,’ we are hoping to grow more and we are featured on David Guetta’s new album and hope to collaborate with other artists in the future.”
Atweh has a theory for why Don’t Kill the Magic and “Rude,” the latter of which sold more than 3 million copies, are so successful.
“I think that we put our hearts into our music and, of course, bringing a little reggae flavor didn’t hurt either” he says.
“With our new single, ‘Let Your Hair Down,’ we hope to spread more of our music and friendship to the world.”
DIRECTV Super Fan Festival, Pendergast Family Farm, Glendale, www.stubhub.com/directv, Wednesday, January 28, through Friday, January 31, 5 p.m., $99 and up