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Magician Shin Lim On How He Acquired His Sleight Of Hand09:47
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Shin Lim is the winner of "America's Got Talent" Season 13 Finale Live Show Red Carpet in 2018. (Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)
Shin Lim is the winner of "America's Got Talent" Season 13 Finale Live Show Red Carpet in 2018. (Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

Shin Lim is the Canadian-born, American-raised magician who stunned viewers on "America's Got Talent," then the international competition, where his sleight of hand beat out 50 other winners from around the world.

Lim tells host Robin Young that up-close magic is all about skill. He says his training as a classical pianist greatly influenced his magic.

“I think what really kind of excited me about sleight of hand or close up card magic was that it was so much like the piano,” he says, “because the piano is very raw and it's all about technique and it's all about skill.”

Interview Highlights

On his decision to perform card tricks to music

“You know, especially close up magic, no one really ever did it silently. Everyone's always talking, making jokes. ... [which can be a] big time distraction. And also to tell a story. And if you don't talk, then you can't do any of those. At least that's what they told everybody when they're teaching class. And so for me to have not talked, been silent and then just do it all to music was very different. Some say it was pretty controversial.”

On magicians sharing their secrets on YouTube

“I have a more younger outlook on it. But for me, I'm fine. I don't really care. I think information should be free … I mean, that's kind of the only way magic can grow.”

On learning difficult magic tricks — such as one where he transfers the print of a card onto his chest through his shirt

“Well, you can probably find out how to do that on YouTube. … But the thing you know, so the thing is, like even though you figure out how to do it on YouTube, they'll teach it. I'm sure there are so many tutorials out there, but you won't be able to perform it early. It's not right away. It's tough. It's not easy. And so I think that's why I'm not so worried because it's hard.”

On learning from illusionist David Blaine

“He was like my source for learning card tricks. So you would have the David Blaine tricks [on YouTube] and then underneath that would be like, how did David Blaine do all these tricks? And I would click on it and kind of learn how he did it, but not just that. David Blaine was also kind of the first magician that made it cool, you know, because back then, magic was ... I mean, it still is kind of cheesy, but he made it cool.”


Robin Young produced and edited this interview for broadcast with assistance from Katherine Simpson. Simpson also adapted it for the web.

This segment aired on February 13, 2020.

Robin Young Twitter Co-Host, Here & Now
Robin Young brings more than 25 years of broadcast experience to her role as host of Here & Now.

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