Freddie Mercury has been reborn in Marc Martel. Mercury, the legendary rocker of Queen, died in 1991 and, in commemoration of his 40th death anniversary, drummer Roger Taylor is organizing a special event. Dubbed âQueen Extrvaganzaâ, the event will see selected singers taking stages across North America to pay tribute to the band.
Dozens of Queen and Freddie Mercury fans have submitted videos for the contest, with Marc Martel one of them. This early, though, fans are already proclaiming Martel as the likely winner although voting does not start until November 14. âIf Marc Martel doesnât win,â tweets Nick Seaman, âIt will be a travesty.â
Marc Martelâs audition video for the Queen Extravaganza has gone viral. As of this writing, Martelâs Freddie Mercury impression has received 1,6 millionÂ views on YouTube. Whatâs interesting here is, although Marc Martel is part of a band â Downhere, they sing primarily Gospel and Christian songs.
The performance itself couldn’t seem less contrived, except, perhaps, for the ‘dirty moustache’ Martel cultivated for the audition – a nod to the iconic Queen frontman who died in 1991. Martel distills the song to its bare essence, a no-frills performance anchored by a voice that’s almost eerily Mercuryesque.
“I thought lyrically, that song is so perfect for right now,” he told the Wall Street Journal. “Itâs just a guy crying out that heâs tired and canât get ahead, and most people in America can relate to thatâŚ I know I can.”
While their vocal styles bear an uncanny similarity, Martel doesn’t seem to share much else in common with his unlikely muse.
A consummate showman with a penchant for on-stage spectacle, Mercury was born in Zanzibar as Farrokh Bulsara. While he had dated women, Mercury was known to be bisexual.
Martel’s band, Downhere, was formed at a bible college in Saskatchewan – a Gospel and Christian rock outfit that would subsequently earn three Juno awards. The band has since moved to Nashville, Tennessee.
“Our music may come from a biblical standpoint but we donât shy away from true experiences â doubt, loss, pain, sorrow â we want to deal with all of that,” Martel told the WSJ.
“Queenâs repertoire deals with those emotions and feelings too and I love singing their music because at the end of the day, itâs just true.â
He also seems to be loving the sudden catapult to internet stardom. “I’m not gonna lie,” he tweeted Thursday. “This is really fun to watch. Thanks everyone!”
Later that day, he added, “Just broke half a million views, so I think I’ll peel myself away from the computer for an hour and have dinner with my wife :)” [via The Huff Post, CBS (CA) and Wall Street Journal]