Christian Band Downhere Wins Two GMA Awards, Lead Singer Possible New Frontman for Queen

Christian band Downhere is making waves lately because of lead singer Marc Martel's uncanny ability to embody the voice of Freddie Mercury, and after his band won two Gospel Music Association covenant awards.

The group won Song of the Year for "Let Me Rediscover You," and Pop and Contemporary Album of the Year for Two at a Time.

 “It is such a thrill when artists we have been developing and working with get the recognition they deserve. To have Downhere continue to garner the accolades from their Canadian fans is overwhelming,” said Steve Ford, vice president of marketing at Centricity Music.

Downhere is part of the Centricity Music label that released their award winning album, Two at a Time, in the summer of 2010.

The band's last album, On The Altar Of Love, was released in August and did not qualify for the awards.

Christian website JesusFreakHideout called the new album "one of the best releases of the year." In promotion of the new album, the band went on the “Called to Love Tour” with Jason Gray and Aaron Shust ending Nov. 13. Immediately following this tour is the “How Many Kings Christmas Tour” starting Dec. 1 in Kansas.

Downhere won several other awards, including the Juno Awards, Covenant Awards, Vibe Awards, Prairie Music Awards and Dove Awards.

Singer Marc Martel is one of the leading contenders to win the Queen Extravaganza tour that would allow him to be the new front man of a legendary rock band playing as a legacy band.

Queen drummer, Roger Taylor, will announce those who made the semifinals today after almost six weeks of open auditions. Public voting will take place Nov. 14.

The remaining members of Queen – Brian May, Roger Taylor and John Deacon – who wish to retire from performing, are holding the contest. They are looking for the best replacement singers and musicians to create a Queen tribute group that can keep playing their music in future years.

All submissions are to be submitted by video on YouTube.

“The Queen Extravaganza will not be a traditional tribute show,” said Queen drummer Taylor on the band's website. “It’s a brand-new show specially designed to enable fans to celebrate the music of Queen in a heart-stopping event.”

The contestants had four classic Queen songs to choose from, "Killer Queen," "Somebody to Love," "Seven Seas of Rhye" and "I Want To Break Free."

"What an amazing storehouse of talent we have unlocked," said Taylor in a press release. "The standard is mind blowingly high, it's really a thrill getting to discover some of them, keep them coming!"

Round two will show each member of the competition playing a song assigned to them.

The press release states vocalists must submit a video of themselves performing "Crazy Little Thing Called Love." Drummers must perform "One Vision," while guitarists must play "Keep Yourself Alive." Bassists will play "Another One Bites The Dust," and keyboardists must perform "Bohemian Rhapsody."

The semifinalists will have between Nov. 9 and Nov. 13 to submit their videos, and the public will judge them.

The videos have accumulated 6.4 million views. Martel had a chance to be on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" Oct. 3 where he sang a picture perfect version of "Somebody to Love."

The fans showed their support for Martel, and voted him winner of the MTV O Award last week for Best Fan Cover.

The press release said: "'The Queen Extravaganza; tour will feature three vocalists and a five-piece band and will be booked by powerhouse agency CAA. Taylor is fully hands-on, taking the role of producer and music director."

The Queen contest ends December 2011.