At just 10 years old, David DaVinci performed his first professional magic show, wowing audiences with his thrilling and unexplainable illusions. At age 18, he became the youngest magician in history to win the Gold Medal in the Pacific Rim Professional Stage Championship, making him a World Champion Magician before he graduated high school. Today, 25 years after his first performance, this Spokane native and Sandpoint resident is still impressing audiences across the globe.
“What attracted me to this unusual career path was the ability to entertain and amaze,” says David. “In a single moment, I can take someone’s mind off a bad day they’re having and suspend their disbelief.”
As there’s no real “school of magic,” David is mostly self-taught, honing each act through repetition. “It’s about getting up in front of an audience night after night and performing, then sitting back afterwards, no matter how painful it is, and critiquing the video of the show,” he says.
Each one of David’s shows consists of various acts, and each act can take years to develop. “There are many pieces that I worked on in middle school that I’ve only put into the show over the last five years,” he says. “I literally worked on one card trick for 20 years before considering it ready for the public. It’s one of the most complicated sleight-of-hand routines, and for it to be great, it can’t look like I’m doing what I’m actually doing. It has to look magical. Twenty years later, it does.”
David and his wife, Jamie (a Sandpoint native) have a 5-year-old daughter Capri, and the entire family is part of the act. Jamie is a master at both the technical side and the illusions. “Nothing makes me more confident than walking into a venue and knowing that she can call the shots from backstage, front of house, behind a camera or anywhere else for that matter,” says David. “She’s my biggest asset and is the main reason my shows go so smoothly these days!”
Capri attends most of Dad’s shows, whether she’s backstage cheering him on or in the front row giving him thumbs up. She even makes her own special appearances on stage at times to perform an illusion.
“Crazy life is normal to her,” says David. “Seeing Dad chained and locked in a tank of water for three minutes, making a death defying escape or jumping out of perfectly good airplanes … it’s all normal for her. Waking up and asking, ‘What country are we in today?’ is par for the course. She’ll look back at these times, likely around the time she starts dating, and realize it was pretty darn cool!”
David, Jamie and Capri travel the world together. Capri was raised on a cruise ship where David performed during her first three years of life, and before she was even 4, she had already traveled to four continents. “I love that we can do this as a family. It keeps us focusing on common goals, achieving them and celebrating together,” says David.
The most exciting thing about being in entertainment, according to David, is the constant change of scenery and the challenges that it brings. “Whether we’re performing on rough seas on a cruise ship off the coast of Africa or jumping out of a plane to find a selected card before deploying my parachute, I’m always being challenged both mentally and physically.”
David credits his supportive family for helping him on his journey of where he is today. “My mom used to drive me to all my shows since I was a working professional long before I had my driver’s license,” he says. “And my dad, he’d always film every show so that I could go back and critique them and use the good ones for demo reels. Now that he has early onset Alzheimer's, it’s so special to be able to go back and watch those videos with him.”
David is someone who is constantly trying to improve and is inspired by the illusionists who are pushing the envelope both personally and professionally while overcoming obstacles. He also created a ‘mastermind group’ consisting of a small handful of the world’s greatest magicians. Once a month, they meet up online and help each other get to the next level in their careers. “It’s been incredibly transformative for everyone!” David says.
Before every show, David says a silent prayer to entertain the audience and to take their mind to another place. “I want to take them on a journey of emotions with me and, ultimately, entertain them.”
He recalls one evening that stands out in his memory, while he was on a two-year tour performing at arenas across the U.S. “One night I had a show for widows and families of fallen soldiers. We met with them before the show, and you could feel their pain, you could see it in their eyes,” David says. “I knew that night that I had the ability to take their mind off of their grief for the next two hours and give them a chance to give themselves guilt-free permission to enjoy the moment. It was a very moving moment, and ever since then, that has been my goal.” He adds: “We never know what people are going through, but entertainers can ease the pain in a healthy way.”
Performing for their hometown audience in Sandpoint is always a great experience, according to David. “Every time I cross that long bridge, I feel so grateful to live in this beautiful part of the country! The people are friendly, and usually surprised to know we live here,” he smiles.
One highlight of many on their adventures includes David and Jamie being flown out to David Copperfield’s private islands to train him and his birds. Yes, that’s a side business for the couple—they are professional bird trainers! And just recently, they performed for the President and First Lady of Kygryzstan and did a live television broadcast in China for 200 million viewers.
“We put a lot of effort into creating a show that has a mix of everything,” says David. “I want to emotionally move people, I want them to laugh, cheer, cry and be stunned. They can expect ‘Shrek-Style’ humor that is funny to the adults, but over the kids’ heads while still entertaining them all. We also work with exotic parrots, so audiences can expect to see them entertaining as well.”
David has been performing all summer long in Sandpoint at the Cedar Street Bridge and will be wrapping up the summer season with a big fundraiser show on August 31 at the Panida, as they are trying to raise funds to build an aviary to help with unwanted parrots. (Find out more on that at PetOrg.org.) “We’ve helped tens of thousands of parrots over the years and never had the actual facility to do the training,” he says. They are trying to raise $150,000 to build a facility that will allow them to take on more parrots, train them and their owners, and ensure they have a forever home. As David states, “Parrots are the third most popular pet but the No. 1 most re-homed. We just want to do our part. We’re looking for sponsors for that show, as well as anyone wanting to buy tickets.”