Marc Martel - Finding Faith in Rock and Roll and Vice Versa
Friday, September 30, 2011 • 6:29pm
A friend of mine is poised to become “the NEW Freddie Mercury” in the Queen Extravaganza, created by the surviving members of the legendary Rock and Roll band.
It’s a great story about talent, luck, timing, viral videos and of course church.
So let’s start there,…Church. I attend Renaissance Church in The Summit Opera House in Summit, New Jersey.
Renaissance is a non-denominational, contemporary, Christian Church. The services are casual, the people are friendly, the faith is VERY real.
Renaissance is a great place to worship. It’s a great place for families. A great place to find faith. And just so you know where to look for faith, Renaissance Church has a sermon series most Octobers called "Finding Faith in Rock & Roll." (FFIRR) During the FFIRR Series our pastor bases his sermons on a Rock & Roll song. Truth be told, they play Rock all year long but still, the FFIRR is a highlight of the year.
A few years back, our Pastor, Rich Teeters and Creative Arts Director, Steve Young placed Bohemian Rhapsody on the menu. Some onlookers wondered what such a grandiose rock anthem written by an openly gay man was doing in a church service. Behind the scenes, Steve worried about who would sing the song, given the immense challenge of stepping into Freddie Mercury's shoes!
Just a bit of a note: the Renaissance Band is unbelievable. Pro players, Broadway singers, AMAZING talent. But this was Bohemian Rhapsody and Steve doesn't mess around.
So, on Sunday October 21, 2007 Marc Martel, a singer from a Christian Band almost none of us had ever heard of, called Downhere, came to Summit to tackle Queen. It was UNBELIEVABLE. By the way, don't worry if the name is unfamiliar. He will soon be VERY famous.
Ever since that morning I have evangelized through Bohemian Rhapsody. Many people have come to church after seeing the video. I have called it the greatest recording of that song ever, anywhere, by anyone, including Queen.
I said it. I meant it.
I show it to anyone who will watch including Randy Jackson from American Idol, Executives at Spike TV when I hosted a show there and just about anyone stuck next to me when I have my laptop. Which is pretty much always.
Last week Roger Taylor, the drummer from Queen, announced a contest to find musicians and to find a new Freddie Mercury. Well, that’s not possible. A singer who could do a reasonable job with Freddie’s songs, was what Roger hoped for.
Mark uploaded a video audition of himself singing "Somebody to Love". My friend Calle Macarone sent a link to me at 6:30am. The video had 17,000 Hits. By dinner that evening it had 476,000. Today less than a week later the audition has been hit 3,845,478 times. Copies created by re-posters have another half million hits.
The Bohemian Rhapsody video, with Marc singing at Renaissance Church, has over 548,000 hits and copies have at least 200,000 more. There are copies posted in Chinese, Spanish and Korean.
Marc was a first page story on yahoo! Japan. A story in the Wall Street Journal, was all about Marc. Monday he appears on The Ellen Degeneres show. Agents, managers and googley-eyed freaks from Jersey are all calling with pitches.
Marc's head is spinning. So are the heads of his bandmates. He is a near mortal lock to get this job…even his competitors are saying “I have no shot.”
So who would have guessed that a singer from a Christian Band would be in position where literally millions of people now know his name and are demanding that Mr. Taylor anoint him the winner?
Freddie Mercury is one of the biggest rock stars of all time. An icon. In Marc’s audition, he asks “Can anybody find me somebody to love?” Well, my friend, so far there are about six million people who love you and that’s just the tip of a huge iceberg. This whole thing is big.
Marc, I can’t wait to see you in Queen. I can’t wait to see how Downhere EXPLODES when you get back to the band. Your impact on the world is going to be profound. Downhere is already the best Christian Band I’ve ever heard. Soon you will be the biggest too. There is nobody more deserving or more talented than Jason, Jeremy, Glenn and Marc, downhere.
As for Renaissance? This fall’s Finding Faith in Rock and Roll series is based on the music of The Beatles. It will be awesome. Come Sunday October 23rd and see our great new Pastor Chris Trethewey and the BEST Church band you’ve ever heard. I said it. I meant it.
I had about 20 different titles for this article. Such as "The Church of Bohemian Rhapsody." Or "THE Rock & Roll Church.” Maybe, “Ready Freddie?” I chose the one above the article because, when you think about it, we at Renaissance Find Faith in The Rock and Roll of Queen. Queen has unwittingly found Rock and Roll, in Faith of Marc Martel.
Click here to see a video interview with Marc Martel.
">Click here to see Marc Martel sing Bohemian Rhapsody
">Click here to see Marc Martel's "Somebody to Love" audition
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