20 March 2024

Canada's Got Talent: Getting to know Jeff Newman

Next in our series of short interviews with some of the magic acts listed in the March 5th Canada's Got Talent media release is Jeff Newman!

You may already know that Jeff:

  • Presented his show MIND GAMES: Brain-Bending Magic at the 33rd annual Edmonton International Fringe Theatre Festival, and
  • In addition to mentalism and magic, Jeff has is also an actor and improviser.

We're delighted that Jeff made time to answer our questions! 


Who inspires you that is not a magician?
My biggest inspiration comes from the people around me. My wife is my creative other half, and she’s been a major influence on my performances and making magic my full-time job. Along the way, though, I’ve had plenty of others…Family and friends have supported me in pursuing my passion, especially when I’ve hit some roadblocks. I’ve had teachers and professors who taught me the importance of education and that I should never stop learning. There are coaches and teammates from my days as an athlete who taught me work ethic and how to rely on others. So many people in my life have helped me become what I am today, and they still inspire me to keep doing my best and chasing my dreams.
What is your first memory of magic? 

My first memory of magic was watching The World’s Greatest Magic when I was about 6 or 7. The performances were all great, but what really hooked me were the interactive pieces that taught magic, or magic you did yourself through the television screen. By the next day, I was driving my family insane, asking them to “pick a card!” over and over again.

Who from the magic community inspires you?

There are so many…I primarily perform as a mentalist, so that’s where I get most of my inspiration from. I love work from Marc Paul, Luke Jermay, Andy Nyman, Bob Cassidy, Richard Wiseman, Derren Brown…and of course, Corinda and Annemann. I’ve taken little pieces from all of them and more to put together my act over the years.

Was there anyone or anything instrumental to you becoming a magician?

Even though I discovered magic early in life, I actually came to learning and performing it late; it wasn’t until university (following an injury that ended my athletic career) that I started seriously developing my skills.

My biggest gateway into magic was actually Brian Brushwood and Scam School. It was the perfect way to learn and develop the social and psychological skills for a beginner magician. I got into mentalism pretty quickly, so I searched for other creators there that I jived with (see my inspirations above), and their work created the foundation for my own.

Wes Barker was also a huge part of my career taking off. Early in my career, I opened for him at a small show over a decade ago. He was the first working pro I ever met and has been someone I can turn to, appreciate, and share a beer with ever since.

But I’d say my wife has had the biggest influence on my career. She introduced me to theatre (we met when she cast me in a university play) and taught me how to perform magic instead of just tricks. In fact, my wife and her support convinced me to pursue magic full-time. Over the years, she’s been my co-creator, director, stage manager, assistant, voice of reason, and wrangler. She’s been with me through it all.

Jeff Newman

📸 : CGT

Did you ever get discouraged and think about quitting magic?  
OOOOH, yeah, so many times. I’ve been performing professionally for over a decade, and I’ve taken a lot of lumps along the way. Working as a full-time magician is hard and can be discouraging sometimes. I’ve had all…I’ve bombed at shows, I’ve been broke, I’ve had bad reviews, I’ve struggled with creating magic…all of it. And while those struggles can seem daunting, the thing that has kept me going has been passion.

I love what I do. I love stepping out on stage and seeing the crowd. I love hearing the laughs, and the gasps, and cheers, and the applause. I love performing magic and creating little pockets of wonder for people in their everyday lives. I love learning magic and all the little clever things that gives my brain the workout that only magic can do. I love what magic has given me…I’ve made incredible friends, had amazing experiences, and built a career all because I’m lucky enough to have found passion in magic. It’s truly the best job in the world, and it’s made all of those obstacles in the past worth it.

Do you have any tour or pre-show rituals you’d be willing to share with our readers?
Warm-ups. They’re a standard. For me, performing is a lot like playing sports. You need to warm up before you play.

I start with some light physical things…little hops, torso twists, arm circles, neck rolls, and stuff like that. It gets the blood pumping and gets me moving. Then, some basic vocal warm-ups…breath work, practicing projection, tongue twisters. Basically, getting my body ready to perform!

There’s also the pre-show check. I’m absolutely neurotic about my show set up. It gets put up in a particular order and probably checked and re-checked a gazillion times before I start. It may seem a little crazy, but it helps put me at ease before the show, knowing that everything is where it should be.

Why is now the right time for you to be a part of Canada's Got Talent?
I think it’s the culmination of all my hard work over the years. I started from humble beginnings and overcame a lot to get where I am today. It’s a chance to show the magic community and the world that all the effort I’ve put into my magic career has given me something to offer: that I’m meant to be a magician. I finally have the chance to share my passion for performing on a world stage, and I’ve persevered through all of the obstacles along the way to live my dream as a full-time performer. To me, being on CGT is proof that I’m where I’m meant to be.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
Do it because you love it, and learn everything. If you perform magic as a hobby, a full-time job, or something in between, let your passion drive you and learn everything you can to make you better. If you want to learn to perform better, find a director or a coach and perform as much as possible. If you want to perform professionally, learn how to build a business. If you want to create incredible magic, dive into as many books, DVD’s and lectures as possible to inspire you. This will look different for everybody, but if you love magic, if it’s your passion…let it guide you and learn everything you can along the way!



Thank you Jeff, for making the time to answer our questions!  Break a leg on CGT!

Learn more about Jeff at his website NewmanMentalism.com and follow him on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.

Watch Canada's Got Talent Tuesdays on CityTV.





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