Singing priest Fr Ray Kelly offered deal with music label

Sony, Universal approach priest after hearing his version of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah

The video of Fr Ray Kelly singing at a wedding has gone  worldwide and was viewed 34 million times on YouTube.

The video of Fr Ray Kelly singing at a wedding has gone worldwide and was viewed 34 million times on YouTube.

Mon, May 5, 2014, 16:34

Fr Ray Kelly, the singing priest who became a YouTube sensation, has been offered two separate record deals with major record labels.

Fr Kelly came to international prominence just a month ago when he sang an altered version of Leonard Cohen’s song Hallelujah at the wedding of Leah and Chris O’Kane.

To his surprise and the surprise of most people, the video of the wedding has gone viral worldwide and was viewed 34 million times on YouTube.

Fr Kelly has been approached by both Sony and Universal and is negotiating with both of them.

Ironically, the video was pulled by Sony which has the rights to Leonard Cohen’s music but only when it reached 34 million hits. “The horse had already bolted from the starting rail,” joked Fr Kelly on RTÉ’s John Murray Show.

“It looks like it is going to happen (the record deal). Ninety per cent of people don’t get a break and now, at this stage of my life, it is happening for me. Dreams do come true.”

International media outlets have taken notice too. Since Fr Kelly sang Hallelujah at the wedding, German television appeared at a recent first communion ceremony. Australian breakfast television has also been to film him and Thames Television are coming over. He will be singing at a show in Manhattan next Sunday.

“It’s different,” he said of his life since. “It hasn’t really sunk home yet. I’m still getting on with day-to-day living.”

Fr Kelly was a late vocation and studied for the priesthood after 10 years in the civil service. He will be a priest 25 years next year.

He said some people had become obsessed with the progress of Hallelujah online and he was constantly getting texts when he passed certain milestones such as 10 million and 20 million views.