A local magician is being hailed as “the Irish Dynamo”.
Thanks to his stunning up-close magic, Rodd Hogg’s mesmering act has already wowed showbiz celebrities such as Diana Vickers and Tinie Tempah.
And now the Aghadowey maestro (33) is being billed as the country’s most exciting up and coming professional magician.
Rodd is the son of Archie Hogg, a kitchen fitter and Maureen, who works for NB Autoparts in Coleraine. His brother Nigel is a draughtsman for a concrete company in Toome.
A dad of two, Rodd is married to Ruth and the couple have two children Hannah (5) and Max (4).
Recalling his school days, Rodd said: “I did my GCSEs at Inst and left and went to The Tech and then got a job as a welder for about 11 years.
“I was always interested in magic since I was a kid. I had the Paul Daniels sets and all that but I never saw magic in the flesh.”
But Rodd’s ‘Eureka moment’ came when he was out for a meal in The Anchor in Portstewart six years ago and was shown a coin trick by the then Birmingham goalkeeper Maik Taylor who was over for a Northern Ireland B match against an Everton Select at Coleraine Showgrounds.
“That was the moment,” recalls Rodd. “That totally blew me away and ever since that it’s been researching, studying, practising every day.”
Rodd breaks into a laugh when he recalled his first terrifying public performance - two-and-a-half years ago.
“That was at the Ross Park Hotel in Kells. Somebody I knew had told someone that I did some tricks and I was walking into the hotel shaking. I was totally and utterly a bag of nerves. But once I got my first trick over me I was grand.
“I did two hours and moved from group to group. But I knew I wanted to do magic even before that and I was trying hard to get the work.”
Rodd insists that he became a magician through sheer hard work and dedication. “It’s all about hard work and entertainment and having a genuine passion for what you do.”
Although not a member of the Magic Circle, Rodd was thrilled recently to have been invited to Birmingham by veteran French magician Etienne Pradier - “a hero of mine” - for a gig.
He believes that famous exponents of his craft such as David Blane and Dynamo have done a lot to bring magic into people’s homes, but he has been most influenced by the magician Paul Gordon from Worthing whom he describes as his “mentor”.
“I’d say most magicians are weird or a bit geeky but I’d say I’m an exception to that,” he says with a cheeky smile.
“Fifty percent of my act is magic tricks and the rest is just personality and engaging with people.”
He’s learning his trade very quickly: “You either swim or you sink, it’s as simple as that. It’s just esperience, the more gigs you do the better you get.”
Rodd admits to being a perfectionist when it comes to honing his act. “I’m always learning new material and won’t perform it until it’s ready. I’d never take any chances because you’re only as good as your last performance.
“Hopefully I’ll still be doing it in 20 years time.”
Rodd is now flat out travelling all over the country performing at weddings, parties, corporate functions, clubs and bars.
He has entertained many celebrities and has also performed magic on the radio. He’s also hoping to pick up more work through Etienne Pradier.
And next year Rodd is looking forward to performing at the wedding of the granddaughter of the late local magician Ferney at Dungiven Castle.
“I heard so much about him, he had a motorbike and sidecar, he was really famous. So that’s really touching to get something like that.”
What the celebs are saying about Rodd
“That was fantastic Rodd, you are unreal, and you’re a top man too!” Brendan Rodgers, Liverpool FC manager.
“Breathtaking, You’re the Irish Dynamo!”, Pop singer Diana Vickers.
“Amazing...how the heck did you just do that?” Celebrity chef, James Martin.
“Brilliant magic Rodd, thank you”, R&B artiste Mr Hudson.
“Bloody hell! Amazing, amazing!” Rapper Tinie Tempah.