Marc Martel had no idea what he was signing up for when he posted that YouTube video of him singing Queen’s Somebody to Love three years ago.
As the lead singer for Canadian rock band downhere, Martel had received comparisons to the late Queen frontman Freddie Mercury for years, so he didn’t think much of it. But Martel’s video went viral, getting millions of views and leading to his inclusion in the Queen Extravaganza, an official Queen tribute project organized by drummer Roger Taylor.
Martel still performs with the Queen Extravaganza, but he’ll also release his own solo album, self-consciously titled Impersonator Sept. 30 on Be Music and Entertainment. The album’s first single, a Muse-meets-Queen rocker called Paradise, premieres at USA TODAY and is now available for digital download.
“Stylistically speaking, Paradise is a Jekyll & Hyde song,” says Martel, who recorded the album in Los Angeles with producer John Fields, known for his work with Switchfoot, Soul Asylum and the Jonas Brothers. “It starts very aggressive, then has this epic ending, which is probably my favorite moment of the whole album. You really have to listen to the whole song to get to the payoff.
“You’re going to get the gamut of styles in one song that will be represented on the rest of the album. I think it’s a great first offering, because it shows people what I’m doing on this record.”
The creative tension of finding an individual artistic identity while touring the world singing some of rock’s best-known songs runs through Impersonator.
In addition to the title track, Martel leads the album with a track called Dead Ringer. In another, he sings, “You ain’t no Ringo Starr/You’ve got the rhythm, but you’ve got no heart.”
“My wife was on me about that: ‘Are there too many identity-crisis songs on this album?'” Martel says. “But that’s kind of what my life is right now. If I’m being honest as an artist and writing what’s going on in my life, that’s what’s going on.”
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SOURCE: USA Today