He’s got talent — and America knows it.
Young magician/Youtuber Collins Key is known for amazing America — and the world — with his magic tricks when he appeared on the eighth season of America’s Got Talent. Sixteen at the time, the now twenty year old can be found on YouTube, live.me and more making his fans smile with his infectious personality, funny challenge videos, reactions and more.
But that’s not all. Along with blowing us away on TV and YouTube, Collins is known for last year’s Awesomeness TV series “Bus Hoppers,” where he’d meet up with our faves on their tour bus to show them a magic trick or so. Even when on carpets, he’s always doing magic tricks for the YouTubers and the musicians/actors he meets along the way, including Fifth Harmony, Demi Lovato, Joe Jonas, and Ansel Elgort. He’s even toured with many artists, including his gig as the opener for Demi Lovato’s “Neon Lights Tour” in 2014.
So, who’s the magician we all can’t get enough of? With the 2016 Streamy Awards tomorrow (October 4th), we got to talk to nominee Collins Key about the award show, America’s Got Talent, touring with Demi Lovato and the most memorable reaction he’s had while doing his magic tricks.
ANDPOP: First off, congrats on being nominated for a Streamy! What does the award show mean to you as an online personality?
Collins: It’s super cool the fact that I get to connect with my fans and do magic for them live and just really interact with them to be recognized is kind of the best thing you can ask for.
Is this the first time you’re going to the Streamys?
No, I’ve been to the Streamys in the past to support my friends, but this is the first time going and being nominated!
For you, what’s the most special thing about the Streamys that sets it apart from other award shows?
It’s super cool because they have a lot of really well-known online talent there – it’s just fun to be there and meet a lot of different people there too. It’s the people that are the best of the best in what they do.
You were on the eight season of America’s Got Talent. How do you think being on AGT prepared you for your career?
I wouldn’t be where I am at without it. It was incredible. The fact that at sixteen years old to be a magician and have exposure to ten million people every single week is just, you don’t get that anywhere else. [That] definitely was what kicked this whole thing off. [I’m] so grateful for the opportunity and it really put me to do different things [and] try different things.
You’ve done magic tricks for so many people. Who was most memorable and what was their reaction like?
It’s funny that there are some that [we] don’t have video of, I’ve just done magic for them. I did magic for Zendaya and what I did with her was I changed one dollar bills to hundred dollar bills and she freaked out. [She] was grabbing the money taking it and making sure it was real. Making sure it had watermarks – that was one that was super memorable. Unfortunately, we didn’t get it on video but hopefully I can do magic again for her sometime again and film it.
You’re very calm on stage. It almost feels like you were born to be in front of a crowd shocking and making them smile. Is there anything else you’d love to do on a stage?
Thank you! Well, I started doing acting actually. I started when I was four years old doing different Shakespeare plays and just performing a whole bunch. Acting is where I got my start. And from there, magic happened when I was about twelve. On stage, it’s not about the magic. For me its about being able to connect with the audience, entertain and just have fun up there, bringing people on a journey. If it’s through theatre, or a play, that’s just another way of telling a story and making great entertainment.
You were also on the Neon Lights Tour. What was it like touring with a musical act and who would you like to tour with in the future?
Well, that tour was absolutely crazy. It was the first time magic has ever been performed in arenas like that – for that age group especially. It was insane. It was a dream being able to do that. I’m actually looking, hopefully, next step is to do my own tour. Being able to really redefine the way people think of how magic is done and how magic is performed in a live environment.
Your YouTube channel has something for everyone – challenge videos, reacting, DIY, and magic. You’re very versatile. Is there a style of video you enjoy doing more than others?
Honestly, it’s like performing. Again I love creating entertaining content. That’s my goal. I want to make people laugh, smile. Whether that’s with reaction video or it’s a video where I recreate music.ly’s or where Devan and I have shock collars on, whatever it is, as long as it’s entertaining I have so much fun making it. Any of the content I put up – I’m not going to put it up if I’m not enjoying it so that’s definitely what’s really important to me as well. Everything that’s on there, it’s a piece of content that I really love and really enjoyed making.
You also did gymnastics as a kid which makes me think you can do everything and anything possible. Is there something you want to learn how to do?
Absolutely. There’s so much. On the top of my head…. I want to learn another language. I want to be really fluent in another language. I think Spanish is the language I want to do because I’ve heard, if you can speak English, Spanish and Dutch, you can go anywhere in the world and be able to communicate with people. So I think that would be really cool.
I’ve always seen you with a smile on your face. How do you try and keep a positive outlook on everything?
Yeah, well for me I’m so grateful for where I’m at. I’ve worked very hard to be where I’m at right now and so, I have so much gratitude for it. Something I do, every morning when I wake up, I will list of ten things I’m grateful for. Whenever you’re in a place of gratitude, it’s impossible to feel down. Whatever it is, even if it’s the smallest thing, that just really kicks off my day very well. I try not let things phase me. Of course there’s times, but I have techniques like that one and certain things to snap out of it when I’m in a bad mood. Life is so much more fun when you smile and you’re happy.
You do livestreams every Sunday – why do you feel its important to always stay in touch with your fans outside of just posting videos on YT?
For me, social media– all it is, is really a way to connect with my audience. So I feel there’s so many different platforms and each one has their own strengths to it but for me, with being able to stream on live.me, it’s so great because that livestream is a really raw, untouched things. It’s king of crazy how it all happened. I did a video on my YouTube channel which is called “the strip down challenge.” Contrary to how it sounds, basically all it is a ten minute video not cuts no edits allowed — a YouTube video, normally [is] all cuts and edits. It’s a very real video. All my fans acted extremely well to it and they wanted more videos like that. So, well, why don’t I do a hour/a hour and a half livestream every single Sunday where that’s exactly what they’re going to get? Live.me has been so, so much fun. Like yesterday [Sept 25] I did a livestream and we gave away an iPhone 7 on a livestream. Did some crazy challenges. Every time it’s wild and crazy but that’s what makes it so much fun.
Have you ever thought of doing daily vlogs?
I thought of doing daily vlogs but my life is not that interesting. I kind of do that on snapchat. And even on Snapchat, I’m like how do I post? I’m literally at home, editing a new video, working on a magic trick all day. To be a daily vlogger — it’s a lifestyle.
To end this interview off, I’m going to throw some rapid fire questions at you.
Oh boy, go for it.
A song you can’t stop listening to?
Ariana Grande’s new song. “Side to side.”
One of my close friends, RCLBeauty101 – she’s amazing.
Favourite magic movie?
One of my favourite books, Psycho-Cybernetics [written by Maxwell Maltz]
**This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity and length.