From MC Magic:
“WUSSUP EVERYONE – I THINK BY NOW EVERY ONE KNOWS A LITTLE BIT ABOUT ME AND MY MUSIC – SO FOR THOSE WHO DON’T KNOW HERE’S MY STORY – I WAS BORN IN NOGALES SONORA MEXICO – MY FAMILY CAME TO THE U.S. WHEN I WAS 5 YRS OLD. GROWING UP IN PHOENIX / AVONDALE / AND PRETTY MUCH ALL OF THE “AZ SIDE” ALL I EVER DID WAS MUSIC. AT ABOUT 13 MY FRIEND ROB TAUGHT ME HOW TO USE A DRUM MACHINE – I WAS ALREADY STARTING MY DJ BUSINESS TOO SO I WOULD GIVE DANCES AT THE LOCAL COMMUNITY CENTER WHICH WERE ALWAYS CRACKIN. EVEN THOUGH I ALWAYS DJ’d PARTIES, DANCES AND QUINCEANERAS – THERE WAS SOMETHING ABOUT SLOW JAMS THAT CUAGHT MY ATTENTION. IN BETWEEN DJing GIGS, GOING TO SCHOOL AND WORKING I WOULD TRY TO MAKE SONGS WITH MY DRUM MACHINE AND KEYBOARD. THEN I CAME UP WITH A SONG CALLED “LOST IN LOVE” (1992) WITH THE PRETTY VOICE OF TRACY CELAYA IT MADE EVERYONE FALL IN LOVE – THEN I STARTED WORKING AT THE SWAP MEET – THATS WERE I BEGAN RECORDING FREESTYLE SONGS ON THE SPOT FOR PEOPLE. I GOT SO BUSY WITH THE CUSTOM SONGS THAT I HAD TO QUIT MY JOB – TODAY I STILL MAKE THE MAGIC CUSTOM CDs MATTER FACT YOU CAN HERE A DEMO OF ONE ON OUR WEB SITE (NASTYBOYRECORDS.COM) SO WORKING AT THE SWAP MEET HELPED ME MAKE ENOUGH MONEY TO BUY MORE EQUIPMENT AND START MY OWN RECORD COMPANY NASTYBOY RECORDS.
TRUTH IS I ONLY STARTED THE LABEL BECAUSE NO BIG RECORD COMPANY WOULD GIVE MC MAGIC A SHOT (Pinchi Cabrones!) I BEGAN WORKING WITH SEVERAL RAPPERS FROM AROUND THE PHOENIX & GLENDALE AREA THEN IN 1997 I FOUNDED A GROUP CALLED NASTYBOY KLICK (NBK) , OUR FIRST SINGLE “DOWN FOR YOURS” FEATURED ROGER TROUTMAN of ZAPP & ROGER (The Talkbox King ). THIS SONG BECAME A HUGE HIT FOR US AND WE FINALLY GOT A BIG RECORD COMPANY TO PAY ATTENTION (MERCURY RECORDS). FOR THE NEXT CD NBK MOVED ON TO UPSTAIRS RECORDS (1998), THIS IS WHEN WE RELEASED OUR NEXT CD WHICH FEATURED ONE OF MY OLD SONGS “LOST IN LOVE” AND THIS IS WHEN IT BECAME A HIT OUTSIDE OF JUST PHOENIX & ARIZONA. LOTS OF TRAVELING / CONCERTS. THEN IN 2001 I DECIDED TO RE NAME THE GROUP NB RIDAZ .. IF YOU PAY CLOSE ATTENTION TO THE NAME THE NB STANDS FOR MY RECORD COMPANY – THEN THE REST MEANS RIDERS FROM ARIZONA “RIDAZ” .. YEA I KNOW PRETTY DOPE HUH! jk – AS NB RIDAZ I TRAVELED A LOT AND HAD SOME BIG HITS – PRETTY GIRL – SO FLY – UNTIL I DIE – TU ERES – NOTICE ME – RUNAWAY – WEL THE LIST GOES ON & ON. YOU KNOW! BEING A GROUP OR “BAND” AS THEY CALL IT IN THE MUSIC INDUSTRY IS NOT EASY. MATTER FACT I FELT THAT I NEEDED TO GO SOLO AND JUST GO BACK TO MY ROOTS – SO IN 2006 I RELEASED “MAGIC CITY” , THE REACTION WAS HUGE! WITH -SEXY LADY- LIES – ALL MY LIFE – PASSION – BE MY LADY – AND PRETTY MUCH ALL THE SONGS ON THAT CD… AGAIN I WAS OUT ON THE ROAD TRAVELING ALL OVER – PLAYING CONCERTS AND JUST PROMOTING MY CDS – SO I SLOWED DOWN TO MAKE TIME FOR MY LATEST GREATEST AND BANGIN’EST (is that a word?) CD EVER – “MAGIC CITY PART 2″ … ON JUNE 10TH 2008 MAGIC CITY PART 2 WILL HIT STORES, iTUNES AND EVERY CELL PHONE COMPANY IN THE USA WILL HAVE ALL MY SONGS AVAILABLE FOR RING BACKS & RINGTONES – I FEEL THIS WILL TRULY BE THE BIGGEST YEAR OF MY MUSICAL CAREER – BUT I CAN’T DO THIS WITH OUT YOU
MC Magic interview with LatinoFuture.com
The Magic Touch
By Christina Estes
Hip-Hop Balladeer MC Magic has never been afraid of working for what he wanted. Be began his music career by putting $5 down on a DJ mixer–and hasn’t looked back since.
It’s a long way from flea markets to the Billboard charts, but MC Magic still vividly remembers those early days as if it were yesterday.
“I would improvise songs on the spot,” Magic says, when talking about his flea market days. “I would record a song and maybe they’d pay me twenty bucks.” Today, this successful Latin hip-hop musician and entrepreneur still composes on the fly—but the price for a personalized song is now five times more. Getting to the point where he could charge that much for a single song has not been easy. Like most small business owners, Magic has weathered some bumps in the road and is more than willing to share the lessons he has learned with other would-be entrepreneurs.
Magic, whose real name is Marco Cardenas, was born in Nogales, Mexico, and raised in Phoenix. One of his earliest musical memories is from around the age of 10 when he created songs about his visiting cousins. When he was 13 years old, he started playing keyboards and drum machines.
“I’d get like five bucks to cut a yard,” he recalls. “Once, I went [into a store] with five bucks and put a deejay mixer on layaway.”
The mixer cost $80 and it took a while before young Magic could take it home. His perseverance paid off a year later, though, when he built his own turntable out of wood and began deejaying.
“I went to City Hall and asked if I could borrow the community center to do something to help the youth,” he says. “I’d promote dances and charge three bucks.”
Although it was good money for a young teenager, as Magic got older, the music didn’t quite cover all his bills. For several years, he had to work as an accountant before taking the plunge into the music business full-time.
In 1990, he formed Nastyboy Records, his independent record company. After releasing his first hit Latino hip-hop ballad, “Lost in Love”, Magic released his first full-length CD, Don’t Worry, in 1995.
Two years later, he formed Nastyboy Klick. Within the first year, the six-member band became one of the most popular hip-hop groups in Phoenix. “Music is an emotional thing,” Magic says. “I feel the music and that’s where we go.”
Although he feels the music, surprisingly, Magic can neither read nor write music. Taking his usual upbeat approach, he calls this slight deficiency a blessing.
“When you learn the rules, you learn limitations,” he says. “Since I don’t know what is in key and what is not, I don’t know limitations. I just feel it and go with it.”
Working with the late funkster Roger Troutman is one of Magic’s career highlights. Troutman—whose own mentor was funk legend George Clinton—assisted Nastyboy Klick with vocals on “Down for Yours” using his famous talk box, a device that electronically alters voices. In 1997, “Down for Yours” peaked at number 10 on the Billboard rap single chart.
“My number one inspiration is Roger Troutman,” explains Magic. “After he died, his family agreed to let me have one of his talk boxes and that changed my life.
Change also came to Nastyboy Klick, which eventually split up—and ultimately evolved into NB Ridaz. The group released two albums before Magic went solo again.
“Anytime you have a group of people, there always will be disagreements,” he says matter-of-factly, explaining the other members felt they needed more and were operating in his shadow. “I would have been happy to give them more, but it wasn’t justified. I was doing 80 percent of the music, 100 percent of the recording and investing. They were already getting their fair share.”
Now that he’s a solo artist, Magic says he would only return to a group when he wants to, not because he has to do it.
“God has a way of freeing us from things that bring stress and problems,” he muses. “Right now, the fans are treating me good.”
As Magic and his music mature, so do his fans. His hit single, “Lies”, for example, is about a man begging forgiveness for treating a woman badly. Magic says it is not a topic he would have tackled earlier in his career.
Starting his own business, he also has learned how important marketing is to success. He really doesn’t understand why some musicians today skip traditional methods. As an example, he mentions one woman he knows who finished recording her CD and just put every song online for people to download for 99¢ each.
“It’s all about presentation,” he explains. “Releasing a CD is like a birthday party. You send invitations. You plan the date and make sure all your friends are there to celebrate. It becomes an event.”
At the same time, Magic does understand the importance of evolving with the times and staying on top of new trends in music and distribution. Although his 2006 CD, Magic City, has sold more than 50,000 copies, he admits it’s a tough time for the music industry overall.
“We’ve had to figure out new ways of generating revenue,” he says, pointing out the value of connecting to the fans. “I always take time to do autograph signings after every concert. We meet fans by the CD and T-shirt booth.”
What’s up next up for this busy entrepreneur? Right now he is establishing an online ringtone company that will provide personalized music for people’s cell phones. He can, for example, alter the chorus of a song like “Pretty Girl” to include your own name—or someone else’s. While his flea market days are way behind him, he does still write and record personalized songs, which now go for $100 a song. Doesn’t it seem like a small price to pay for the Magic touch