Nashville, TN. (Top40 Charts/ Red Stripe Planes Records) - Releases digital single 'Believin'' from his much anticipated sophomore album on Red Stripe Planes Records.
In a time when people's hope and dreams are clashing with the state of our economic times and the everyday struggles to make ends meet, Marcel offers hope to soothe the soul that things will get better if you believe. Marcel announced the release of his next single 'Believin'' from his upcoming album of the same name, which is now available on all major digital service providers. Marcel's passion for photography led to the concept for the upcoming video, in addition to producing, directing and editing the piece.
Marcel's upcoming album, Believin' (Red Stripe Plane Records) is Marcel's first album in five years. It represents breezy joy and clear-eyed sadness which battle for control as the music weaves its way through all of life's ups and downs. "I matured so much between these albums," he says, describing a time in which he lost his record deal, went broke, lost two close family members and witnessed a fatal accident. All of it went into his art which resulted in an 11 track CD.
Marcel hit the charts with his first single, "Country Rock Star," in 2002, and followed it with 'Tennessee," from his promising debut album of You, Me and the Windshield. The subsequent loss of his deal shook him to the core, but his hard work and perseverance paid off. Other artists began to record his songs- Rascal Flatts' 'Backwards', LeAnn Rimes' 'The Weight of Love' and Jessica Andrews' 'There's More to Me Than You'. Josh Gracin recorded both 'Favorite State of Mind' and "Nothin' To Lose", but it was the latter that was the breakthrough and reached No 1 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles chart.
"I have been so fortunate for all the things that have come into my life," he says. "Don't get me wrong, I've worked my butt off for it, but I'm grateful for the friends and everything else God has given me. And I've learned that if you want something, you can have it if you put your mind to it and do it. Anyone can. You just have to believe.'
BELIEVIN' represents the emergence of a unique and important voice in modern country music. Marcel's sophomore album comes a full five years after his promising debut of You, Me and the Windshield and is an intensely personal body of work from the singer/songwriter, cataloging a journey through love and pain, loss and achievement, struggle and hope.
"I matured so much between these albums," he says, describing a time in which he lost his record deal, went broke, lost two close family members, and witnessed a fatal accident. All of it went into his art. "These aren't songs pitched to me by publishers," he says. "I wrote them and they're from personal experience. This CD is my life."
Marcel hit the charts with his first single, "Country Rock Star," in 2002, and followed it with "Tennessee," a song that failed to chart but that lingers as an underground favorite. The subsequent loss of his deal shook him to the core. "Everything goes through your head," he says. "What am I going to tell my parents? What am I going to do for money? I've spent the last ten years trying to get this, and now it's over."
He began talking to other label executives about the possibility of a new deal, but finally thought better of it. "I decided to do it the way it probably would have been best to do in the first place," he says, "which is to write and write and write, until you've got some great songs and someone talks to you seriously about a record deal. So I went into songwriter mode again, but it wasn't like I was going out being a staff writer, writing stock country songs with someone every day. I was writing songs in my bedroom about what I was going through."
I had no money and I borrowed enough from my parents to keep the rent paid-and the rent was only $300 a month," he says. But the hard work and patience paid off. Other artists were recording his songs- Rascal Flatts' 'Backwards', LeAnn Rimes' 'The Weight of Love' and Jessica Andrews' 'There's More to Me Than You'. Josh Gracin recorded both 'Favorite State of Mind' and "Nothin' To Lose", but it was the latter that was the breakthrough and reached No 1 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles chart. Through it all, he had kept fans up to date with a blog and had played select gigs. "Mentally," he says, "it made me feel like, 'I'm still doing this. I'm still an artist. I'm not quitting.'" It's just my personality. I guess it's from all the hockey days, the coaching, making you think you can do anything. You've just got to put your mind to it."
The can-do aspect of his personality that hockey nurtured has been with Marcel since he was 3. Born Marcel Francois Chagnon, he was descended from a physician who was part of the first French settlement in North Dakota and named for L.A. Kings hockey player Marcel Dionne. He grew up in Michigan, the son of parents who ran a professional photo lab. Both were big music fans, and early on he was exposed to pop and rock music ranging from Dan Fogelberg to AC/DC. He was 16 when he heard Garth Brooks's "Friends In Low Places." "I know I'd heard other country songs," he says, "but that was the first song that really made me go, 'Holy Moly, this is cool!'" He dove into the genre, listening to all he could of George Strait, Alan Jackson, Vince Gill, Clint Black, and Dwight Yoakam.
All the while, he'd been playing hockey, practicing twice a day, honing his skills. After high school he began playing for semi-pro teams. He took a guitar with him when he joined a team in Anchorage and spent his free time singing songs by Brooks and Poison, among others. His buddies enjoyed his playing and singing and when he played a song he'd written-his first-the reaction was even better. Chris McDaniel, a member of the country group Confederate Railroad heard him play and encouraged him as well.
Marcel was traded four times in one year, and one of the few constants in his life was the music he took with him to Dayton, Macon and Memphis. The girlfriend of one of his teammates heard him sing a song over the phone and was enthusiastic enough to record three of his songs and take them to friends in the music business. "I called my parents up and said, 'Mom, Pa, I'm going to L.A. I'm going to be a singer.'" They resisted, but it wasn't long before Marcel was on his way.
His first singing gig there involved rollerblading with a microphone and guitar during breaks in professional beach hockey games. He began waiting tables, writing and doing demos, and acting, doing commercials, including one as a double for hockey great Wayne Gretzky. He was playing clubs too, edging the country he loved with the rockers he'd heard as a kid.
Four years into it, though, he was making precious little progress. He had seen "The Thing Called Love," a movie about the Nashville music scene, and wanted to play at the city's famous Bluebird Cafe. He lucked into a performing slot on an open mic night and Barbara Cloyd, the woman who ran the show, gave him a card and told him to call her. The next day she gave him the contacts that eventually led to his first record deal. "I realized, 'I've been in the wrong town for five years,'" he says simply.
After the first deal ended, Marcel went through his toughest times. All of that became part of his music. "The gift I've been given is to be able to express how I feel through writing," he says, "because I can't talk for squat. It's how I am. It's funny."
The resulting 11 songs on BELIEVIN, represent breezy joy and clear-eyed sadness which battle for control as the music weaves its way through all of life's ups and downs. Marcel wrote the single "Believin'" when he was doing remodeling work for one of his co-writers, James Slater. He was thinking about the economy and the hard labor going into earning a dollar these days and digging deep in his soul to find the belief that one day things will get better. "One Big Church" takes a look at connection and forgiveness and its assertion that "Sometimes you've got to get lost to find yourself," takes a sweeping view of the human condition. "The Good Life" is a bittersweet overview of life written after his aunt, his grandfather, and his beloved 13-year-old black lab Maggie died. "In God We Trust" tackles the large and small of day-to-day living and 'Big Break' is an autobiographical snapshot into Marcel's journey in the music business with the faith that one day he will break through and make his presence felt. "More Careful Each Day" and "Goodbye" detail the complexities of romantic love, while "Glory" and "Baby Breathe" take haunting looks at the preciousness of life. 'Baby Breathe' was inspired by an anonymous stranger who died in a fatal car crash which he and a friend witnessed while driving on a rural road in New Jersey. "Having this guy die in my arms, it's been a hard pill to swallow," he says. The lighter side is brought home with "Lose Yourself," a rollicking look at romance and "I Love This Song". The latter was co-written with Jeffrey Steele, one of several world-class writers who collaborated with Marcel on songs for the project-others include Anthony Smith, Darrell Brown, Chris Wallin, and James T. Slater.
In addition to songwriting, he still makes time to pursue interests like video editing. 'Believin'', 'In God We Trust' and 'Goodbye' are all videos in which Marcel produced, directed and edited himself. Remodeling is another hobby of his, this time for his own home. The latter helps keep him in shape, something important to a man who spent so long as an athlete. In fact, he still bears the aches and pains of his years in hockey.
"I have been so fortunate for all the things that have come into my life," he says. "Don't get me wrong, I've worked my butt off for it, but I'm grateful for the friends and everything else God has given me. And I've learned that if you want something, you can have it if you put your mind to it and do it. Anyone can."
And Marcel, at that point where labor and blessings come together, is living proof.