Ireland’s singing priest, Ray Kelly, has become a global sensation after he sang his rendition of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” during a wedding ceremony 12 months ago.
Last year, Kelly performed the song at a wedding for an unsuspecting couple, Chris and Leah O’Kane, in his small parish of Oldcastle, approximately 62 miles northwest of Dublin. A video of the performance was later uploaded to YouTube and instantly became a viral hit, garnering over 42 million views.
“From there it just escalated. The video has almost 42 million hits and is going up about 35,000 every day,” Father Kelly told Agence France-Presse in an interview in the parish house he shares with his two dogs.
Kelly, who has since been dubbed the name “singing priest,” appeared on several different chat shows before Universal Music finally offered him a record deal.
“It’s been mad,” the 62-year-old clergyman said.
“I never thought this would happen at this stage of my life. I was thinking of nearly retiring and now all of a sudden I’ve a music career.”
Ray’s album, titled Where I Belong, was recently released in the United States, and was released in Australia in April, according to Rappler.com. He recorded the album in specially crafted studio in his home as to not take away from his church duties.
I’m very pleased to say that my album ‘Where I Belong’ is released in Australia this Friday! pic.twitter.com/DGkselueAf
— Father Ray Kelly (@fatherraykelly) April 23, 2015
The album features 12 songs, including the one that made him famous, “Hallelujah.”
Below is a complete list of songs:
|1. Together Forever|
|3. Galway Bay|
|4. Everybody Hurts|
|5. How Marvelous|
|6. Where I Belong|
|7. Isle Of Hope, Isle Of Tears|
|8. Tears In Heaven|
|9. Amazing Grace|
|10. O Danny Boy|
|11. How Great Thou Art|
|12. Love Shine A Light|
“I’m still a normal parish priest in a small country town in Ireland and I’m quite happy doing that.”
Kelly says he hopes to be able to help his family as well as charities with the money he makes from his album sales.
“Some of them have big mortgages after buying houses in boom times and are now in negative equity. Please God I’ll be able to help them somewhere along the road. As for myself, there’ll be no Lamborghini outside the church or a yacht.”
What do you think about the singing priest Ray Kelly? Leave your comments below.
[Photo via Twitter/Father Ray Kelly]