When you're the smallest kid in the class it helps to have a few tricks up your sleeve. But now the skills that Steven Frayne, 23, used as a schoolboy in Bradford to keep the other kids off his back and himself out of trouble are paving his way to stardom.
Frayne, aka Dynamo, has become the most sought-after guest on the celebrity party circuit, performing for, among others, Chris "Coldplay" Martin and his wife, Gwyneth Paltrow, the Prince of Wales and Snoop Dogg. This year, he released his own self-produced DVD, Underground Magic, and in May, Channel 4 screened a documentary, Estate of Mind, which filmed him performing close-up street magic on the Bradford council estate where he grew up.
He was brought up by his mother and rarely saw his father. He was also diagnosed with Crohn's disease, a chronic stomach condition, as a child. But now, global fame beckons for Dynamo, who has signed a major deal with Warner Vision International for the worldwide distribution rights to his next DVD, scheduled for release this November.
He is also the star of the video "Hands", the new single from the Raconteurs, out today. It seems that Dynamo, often referred to as Britain's answer to David Blaine, will soon be rivalling the American's success. Senior vice-president of Warner Vision International, Frank Brunger, said that they would also produce a TV version of the production and distribute it digitally. "We were attracted to work with Dynamo simply because of his talent and the effect it has on other people. He came and did some magic here in our offices and all the staff were gobsmacked," he said.
His unique brand of hip-hop-style urban magic, which sees him body-popping as he slams cards through windows or passes lit cigarettes through a card, has made him one of the most creative illusionists performing today.
"The main focus will be to show the magic to its full potential. I want to step out in my own right and let the magic speak for itself," Frayne says. Snoop Dogg broke into a spontaneous rap when they met and Ian Brown was so inspired that he wrote a song about him and performed it live at the launch of Estate of Mind.
The White Stripes frontman Jack White cast him as a "fifth member" of his new band, the Raconteurs, in the video for the single "Hands". Dynamo is seen tricking his way through the song.
Financial success for Dynamo will give him the chance to fulfil a personal ambition. "What I want to do is look after my family, make sure they're all alright," he says.