Video: Jackson Wang teams up with magician Kevin Li for Coachella illusion tricks

Video: Jackson Wang teams up with magician Kevin Li for Coachella illusion tricksVideo: Jackson Wang teams up with magician Kevin Li for Coachella illusion tricks
via Kevin Li
Daniel Anderson
April 20, 2023
Magician Kevin Li made history during Jackson Wang’s Coachella set as the first person to perform magic tricks on stage at the music festival. 
Li taught Wang two tricks that utilize sleight of hand: one in which Wang seemingly pulls a wand out of the display screen behind him and another where he conjures fire to light a match.
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The final trick, which they also brainstormed together, involved Wang being placed on a thin sword and then making it appear as if the sword had impaled him.
Meanwhile, Wang made history of his own by becoming the first Chinese solo artist to receive an invitation to perform his own set at the festival.
Li spoke with NextShark in an exclusive interview about how the collaboration between the two magic men happened. 
According to Li, the duo first met at a house party hosted by music company 88rising. They reconnected later at 88rising’s Head in the Clouds festival in Los Angeles last year, where Li flexed his skills for Wang, Michelle Yeoh and Jay Park, among others.  
Shortly after, Wang reached out to Li wanting to incorporate magic into his future shows.
For their final trick, the pair wanted something spectacular, eventually settling on the spike trick.

We wanted a grand-scale, stunning visual spectacle that symbolized Jackson’s story of rebirth and resurrection as an artist finding his own magic. The finale embodied the Magic Man concept in a gripping, cinematic way, that was a decided departure from your typical magic trick. We wanted a raw, modern illusion that elicited a powerful emotional response and left a lasting impression.

The two performed two other tricks, and Li was particularly impressed with Wang’s proficiency in sleight of hand, remarking that the soloist picked up “one of the most challenging skills in record time.” When Li told Wang their finale would be physically dangerous, “​​Jackson never flinched once, and was so excited and confident during the entire process.”
For Li, who has fooled the likes of Penn and Teller and most recently auditioned for “America’s Got Talent,” Coachella was an opportunity to showcase magic’s possibilities. 

It was truly inspiring to witness Jackson’s perfectionism and attention to detail. His showmanship brought the magic to life in the best way possible — such a perfect fusion of magic and music, something I’ve always wanted to showcase to the world.

Magic can sometimes be stereotyped as corny because of the traditional way it’s always been done. I see creating magic for music as a new art form or genre that is in its infancy of possibilities.

He adds that the opportunity to share the stage during a groundbreaking weekend for Asian talent was extremely meaningful to him. 

It’s surreal to have brought magic for the first time in history to the Coachella stage and perform with one of the best artists and showmen in the world. And for this to be a beautiful record-breaking debut for Asian artists makes me so damn proud and grateful to be a part of this legendary milestone and to represent my culture and community.

I’m proud to bring a new taste of magic to Jackson’s new wave of music. We did it all while being unapologetically us. APIs are unquestionably THE breakout star right now in the arts across the board! Like Jackson said in his set, “We always rising!”

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