Downhere’s Marc Martel Auditions for Queen
- Friday, October 07, 2011
Thank you, World Wide Web, for bringing us all closer together and helping aging rock bands find people who can—and still want to—sing their songs.
It’s what happened to ‘70s-‘80s band Journey in recent years, when looking for a new lead singer to carry the musical front-man torch after original lead singer Steve Perry and others following him had made their exits. The story goes, while surfing YouTube one day, band member Neal Schon found videos of Arnel Pineda singing covers of Journey songs. And perhaps as quickly as one Ctrl+Click later, the Filipino singer became the band’s current lead singer.
Now, in similar fashion, it might be happening again. This time with Downhere vocalist Marc Martel.
Just a little over two weeks ago now, Martel heard about “The Queen Extravaganza,” a talent search to offer singers and musicians the opportunity to audition to become members of a touring tribute band which honors the 40th anniversary and music of Queen, the British rock band which also had its heyday in the ‘70s and ‘80s while being led by the late, flamboyant lead vocalist Freddie Mercury.
The live touring show and contest is the brainchild of Roger Taylor, the original drummer of Queen, who will judge the final audition round which will be held live in Los Angeles in early December.
“The Queen Extravaganza will not be a traditional tribute show,” he states on the contest’s Web site. “It’s a brand-new show specially designed to enable fans to celebrate the music of Queen in a heart-stopping event.”
A long-time fan of Queen’s music and Mercury’s soaring vocals, Martel says after reading through the contest’s rules and regulations that he didn’t know if he had the strength to “not” enter. And so one thing led to another, a video was shot, Queen’s “Somebody to Love” was covered and just this week Martel found himself performing on The Ellen Show and chatting a bit with host Ellen DeGeneres after show producers heard the buzz about Martel’s audition video on the "Queen Extravagana" channel on YouTube.
As of this writing, the video audition has garnered just over 4 million views. And Martel, maybe more than anyone else, is completely surprised.
We spoke about this whole unexpected phenomenon recently and what winning could mean for him—and Downhere’s future—should Martel land a spot in “The Queen Extravaganza,” performing hits such as “Bohemian Rhapsody” or “We Are the Champions” in front of packed-out venues across North America sometime next year.
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