A Marc Martell His life changed in 2011 when Queen drummer Roger Taylor selected him to perform at a tribute concert. Before that, he was a singer who had his Christian group and composed his own songs in his native Canada. Nevertheless, his vocal register, very similar to that of Freddie Mercury, led him almost immediately to become what is called a tribute artist, who has toured -and continues- touring the world playing the late vocalist of the British band. His talent even reached Hollywood, as he lent his voice to several tracks in the movie Bohemian Rhapsody, (which gave Rami Malek the Oscar). Next Thursday the 12th he will offer his first show in Lima with The Ultimate Queen Celebration at the Peru Arena of the Jockey Club.
What does it mean to you to be a tribute artist?
I grew up in a pretty musical place. I taught myself to play guitar and as soon as I could I started writing my own music. I can’t imagine someone like that, that his dream is to travel the world and sing someone else’s music, that’s something I never thought possible, but here I am. As much as I ever imagined myself to be a tribute artist, being able to work with Roger Taylor and Brian May was different and a good way to stay close to the original artist. It was something special and what made me start, in the end, in the music of What in.
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How do you feel the responsibility of representing an artist as great as Freddie Mercury in the world? Have you ever faced the fury of a dissatisfied fan?
(Laughter). I think anyone who’s in the public eye needs to learn how to deal with these things, and yes, there have been a lot of fans who disagree with what I do, and all you have to do is not listen to them. Fortunately, I am lucky to have many people who love my work and I surround myself with them.
What has Freddie Mercury contributed to your career?
It has been very enriching for me, as a musician. Obviously, Freddie Mercury has been one of my great music and singing teachers. I learned a lot from him. In a generic way we have a lot of similar sounds that I’m putting into practice, there’s a lot of Queen in my own music.
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What other things have you learned from the band and what is your favorite song to perform?
I love to sing Queen’s music and that’s why it’s a challenge for me. She has made me change things, I have to take care of my voice, I sleep more, I drink a lot of water. Queen’s music makes me tiptoe, it has made me a better singer and pianist. And about my favorite song, it’s hard to say one other than ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’, but also ‘Somebody to love’, because it was my first viral video and the first one I Roger Taylor He heard me sing, so it’s very special. Also ‘Love of my life’, a song that I know you Peruvians love. I have never been to Peru and I look forward to being there. This is my first trip to South America, so I’m really excited.
Do you miss the days when you were a singer unattached to Freddie Mercury?
They were special days, something very different and that you cannot replace. Also, I learned what it meant to be a musician. Maybe one day I’ll make my own music again. Queen keep me busy around the world, I feel like I could do their music for the rest of my life, but I love writing my own. I also make Christmas music, in fact I am now working in a recording studio to release new Christmas songs at the end of the year. There are already like 40 songs that I have published in the last five years.