Ever since he was a little boy, Lupi knew he wanted to entertain.
Problem was, finding a specific talent was something that just never came easy.
“I couldn’t sing . . . play the guitar, or any instrument for that matter,” he said with a laugh. “But I always wanted to be an entertainer of some sort. I did a little acting, but I stopped doing that and realized I really just wanted to be on stage.”
And as with all great performers before him, like Cher or Prince, he was going to do it with only one name.
But it wasn’t until high school, when he saw illusionist David Blaine perform some street magic on TV, that the aspiring performer knew what he was meant to do.
“I thought — hey, that’s something I could try, and immediately went out and bought a deck of cards. I watched the special, trying to copy what he did, mimic his actions and understand why he did certain things . . . that’s pretty much how it all started.”
Pretty soon Lupi was touring the halls at Regina Mundi Catholic College, ushered from classroom to classroom by teachers amazed at the young magician’s skills.
“I’d go do circuits and go to the principal’s office, which was funny because at the time, I wasn’t really in the principal’s good books,” he said with a smile, adding thanks to years of bringing his skateboard to school, he often found himself in a bit of hot water. “I was pretty much always getting in trouble, but when I did magic they were a lot nicer to me. That was really interesting.”
Simple card tricks were soon followed by slight-of-hand, using everything from foam balls to coins, or even the odd can of Coke.
After high school Lupi headed to college, but it wasn’t long before the pull to perform became too strong. So, instead of heading back for a second year, he packed his bags and took off abroad, to really concentrate on his craft.
“When I was growing up my dad would take us to Italy, so that’s where I decided I wanted to go,” he said. “My dad said OK, I’m going to buy your ticket but you have to do everything else.”
Once he arrived, Lupi performed on the streets and in bars and clubs, impressing enough people to be invited back to perform on stage.
It was at one of those shows, at a bar called Pellicano, where the young magician got his first real taste of the big time.
“I had put a lot of flyers and posters up, and I’m thinking there’s going to be around 30 people. I get there and it’s absolutely packed,” he said. “There were 120 people out there. I thought — I’m not prepared. But, I went out there and I did the best I could and I got a standing ovation. The hardest part about starting to become a magician is failing in front of someone, or failing in front of a crowd. When you start, you’re going to fail in front of everyone a dozen times. But you learn it’s what you do after that that makes you great.”
These days, over a decade after he picked up his first deck of cards, Lupi has made a name for himself internationally as a magician and illusionist, performing not only at home in London, but across North America, Europe and Asia.
And though street magic and slight-of-hand will always play a role in his shows, the 28-year-old virtuoso has his sights set on even bigger challenges.
“These days I’m doing more big-style things, like sawing girls in half and metamorphosis, which is a very cool old school Houdini trick,” he said. “You really have to practice and get it down solid. As magicians, we’re always learning, growing and evolving.”
Currently splitting his time between London and Montreal, Lupi hopes to one day open his own venue, and perform on his own stage. But until then, he’s more than happy to keep
audiences guessing time and time again.
“Some people think it’s really mystical and they don’t want to know how it’s done, other people really want to know. It depends on the person,” he said. “What keeps them all coming back is the wonder. Magic doesn’t happen for me, it happens for them, in their minds, they create it. I just help.”