Just last month, we interviewed Marc Martel, an accomplished singer from the band Downhere. That interview described the band as “hovering just under the radar”, and Martel has always seemed like a singer whose talent far exceeds his following. No longer. Today, millions from around the world know his name and are clamoring for him to become the new lead singer for one of the world’s biggest bands. Suddenly, he’s been featured on sites as far flung as Ultimate Classic Rock, The Wall Street Journal, and Yahoo Japan . He’s playing the Ellen show on Monday. How is this possible?
And also Roger Taylor. And something called the Queen Extravaganza.
Taylor was the drummer for the band Queen when it was fronted by the late Freddy Mercury. His own vocal style notwithstanding, Martel is adept at mimicking the sound of other artists, including Keith Green, Michael W. Smith, and, yes, Freddy Mercury. Back in the day he performed a brilliant rendition of Bohemian Rhapsody at a church in New Jersey. Then along came the Queen Extravaganza, Taylor’s global audition to perform in an 8-piece tribute band during a 2012 tour. Martel’s audition video posted on September 20th.
By September 23rd, the video had over a million views.
As I type this post on September 28th, it’s been viewed 3,279,265 times. It’s the number 18 top rated video for all of YouTube this month. Marc Martel, the hidden talent in Christian music, is hidden no longer.
But what of Downhere? Well, no one expected this sort of runaway success and attention, and it’s a bit too early to process all the ramifications, but one would think the Queen spotlight will shine not only on Martel but also on his band, and consequently on their latest (fantastic) release on Centricity Music, On the Altar of Love. And for the record, Downhere bassist Glenn Lavender has publicly expressed his support for Martel’s endeavor.
“When Marc sent me the link to this contest,” Lavender wrote on his blog, “I replied with ‘Tell me you are doing this!’ So I am totally supportive of this whole adventure. Any success that one of us has is shared by all of us. So many of us have known Marc was capable of this for such a long time, it was just a question of when an opportunity like this would come along.”
Here’s Martel’s audition: