Marc Martel Sings Queen & Downhere Wins

Marc Martel, lead singer of Downhere, looks and sounds a heckuva lot like Freddie Mercury, late lead singer for Brit band Queen. Before last week that made for nothing more than some good ice breaker conversation around Downhere’s merchandise table after concerts. But now the likeness and Marc’s vocal talents could help chronically underappreciated Downhere attract the crowds and opportunities we fans and friends have hoped for for years.

Queen is celebrating 40 years of music by launching a North American tour and hosting a Youtube contest to pick musicians for it. Marc Martel of Downhere uploaded his rendition of “Somebody To Love” late last week, garnering more than 2 million views in its first three days on-line. Take a look.

Youtube viewers who’ve never heard of Downhere have been encouraging, to say the least.

Queen will rise from the ashes on the wings of Marc Martel. Just amazing.. I can’t wait until next year.. QUEEN LIVES AGAIN!!!!!!

HE made it look effortless — wow, impressive!

just AWESOME! I’ve never heard such a great voice! YOU ARE THE REAL GOD, MAN!

And my favorite…

You sing like this and you haven’t been discovered??? You should be HUGE!!

Yes. And soon maybe?

The Wallstreet Journal, The Huffington Post, Crushable, Entertainment Weekly and many more are buzzing about Marc’s audition video, exposing hundreds of thousands of potential fans to Downhere‘s frontman. And just in time.

Downhere has just released the new stellar album On The Altar Of Love, pushing the single Let me Rediscover You to Christian radio stations. I don’t know how well either have been received for sure – but neither the album nor the song are currently in the top 100 on the iTunes Gospel charts.* But 2 million views and counting may change that.

The Christian music industry and fans have a history of jumping on the bandwagon of veteran Christian artists only after the general market confirms their talents first. Mercy Me couldn’t get played on Christian radio until a mainstream station spun I Can Only Imagine and the song was added at general market stations nationwide. POD? Played side stages at Christian music festivals until they broke through to the mainstream via MTV. Switchfoot was never a staple on Christian radio until, again, the mainstream vaulted them up the charts first. Sixpence None The Richer sang about kissing at twilight on every movie and television soundtrack out there and, well, only then did the Christian music gatekeepers pull out their keys.

Is Downhere next? I hope so. I really really do. The men of Downhere love God and people well – and do it with incredible musicality and great humility. And, shoot, if prancing around a few stages belting out Queen tunes for a few months allows Marc and company to make Jesus music a little longer and for a few more people? Well worth the tangent.

*As of Sunday 9/24/2011 On The Alter Of Love was spotted as high as #37 on the iTunes Gospel album chart.