A few months ago something incredible happened to Marc Rebillet’s social media pages. After plodding along as a relatively unknown one-man music and comedy live show for three years, his numbers began to rocket. “Within a week and a half I went from three thousand fans to over a hundred thousand,” he tells us over a YouTube call with the excitement of someone who’s just found a winning lottery ticket. Even more surprising were the locations of his new found fans. Many were overseas in Europe and a long way away from his home town of Dallas, Texas.
Like most of these new found converts, Mixmag discovered the 29-year-old by the way of a friend sharing one of his videos on Facebook.It shows Rebillet, dressed like a diminutive Clark Kent, deftly laying down a house beat and playing a chord sequence that wouldn’t be out of place in a Kerri Chandler classic, before dropping a side-splittingly funny vocal.
His show has been described as ‘Reggie Watts on bath salts’, and his blend of comedy and improvised songwriting, courtesy of a Roland loop machine, has found a particularly deep niche within club culture. Within weeks he was signed by two top US and European talent agencies and US and Europe tours began, with dates in London and Leeds selling out fast.
Some of his videos have had millions of views. One was recorded at his first overseas live show in Vienna in October. It begins with Rebillet asking the audience to suggest a topic for his next improvised song. A member of the audience suggests Donald Trump, and Rebillet immediately invites the crowd to chant ‘Fuck Donald Trump Baby’, loops up his vocal and then improvises a raucous distorted house bassline and beat, before plunging the club to silence and launching into a hilarious, Texan drawl diatribe against the US president.
Part of Rebillet’s rise to prominence lies in the goldfish bowl-like relationship he shares with his online community. He records a new video from his apartment on a small webcam set-up once a week. Some feature him talking about music he’s into (he loves Aphex Twin and Ross From Friends), but usually they involve him recording a new improvised song. One such performance was made just days after his father died after a long battle with Alzheimers, and is an incredibly candid and powerfully emotional performance. “I was having a hard time and a few days later I felt like I had to get something out regardless of whether it was good or shit,” he says.
His Motown-esque voice and incredible keyboard skills also play a key part in wowing fans, something he says is thanks to his parents insisting on him taking piano lessons from the age of four.