Marc Martel’s parents instilled a love for music in him throughout his childhood. Starting with eight years of piano lessons, his passion for music included hours spent alone teaching himself guitar and singing Disney duets with friends. At a small college in Saskatchewan, he formed the band Downhere with his roommate Jason Germain and a few close friends in 1999.
Downhere developed their sound while touring on behalf of the college, which sent them out on the road with production, lighting, sound, and even a vehicle and trailer. After four years of college, the band left their Canadian roots behind and relocated to Nashville, Tennessee, where they signed with Word Records. Downhere has since gone on to win multiple Juno Awards and a Dove Award. They have released 10 albums, including their latest release, On the Altar of Love, which reflects a different approach to songwriting than their previous releases.
Throughout his career with Downhere, concertgoers have often approached Marc and insisted he sounds just like Freddie Mercury, legendary singer of the rock band Queen.
"I don't think I've done a show in the last five or six years where five to ten people haven't come up to me and said, 'Hey, anyone ever tell you that you sound like Queen?' or 'that guy from Queen' or 'Freddie Mercury,'" Martel says, laughing. "In the list of great rock singers, he is considered one of the best, if not the best, and it's always just a huge compliment when people tell that to me."
It seems that Downhere concertgoers aren't alone in their thinking, as Marc's entry for the Queen Extravaganza contest—a video of Marc singing along with the Queen classic "Somebody to Love"—generated more than 6 million views and earned him a spot on the 2012 Queen Extravaganza tour.
Hometown: Nashville, Tennessee