Tags: father ray kelly | singing | hallelujah | priest

Father Ray Kelly: Singing 'Hallelujah' Priest Could Have Record Deal

Monday, 21 Apr 2014 03:06 PM

By Angela Deines

Internet sensation Father Ray Kelly may have a record deal soon.

The Irish priest sang his rendition of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” for Chris and Leah O’Kane at their wedding earlier this month. A recording of the song has garnered nearly 32 million YouTube hits as of Monday. Father Kelly will reportedly speak with several music industry executives this week, including Sony and possibly Universal.

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"There have been a couple of approaches made from big record companies," Kelly, 60, told The Independent. "I'll sit down and talk to them and see what they have to offer. They have ties in Ireland, the UK, and worldwide."

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Comparisons have been drawn between Father Kelly and Susan Boyle, who came from obscurity and won “Britain’s Got Talent” in 2009.

"I knew I could sing — and that I had a voice — but I never thought I'd be in this league,” he said.

According to Ireland Calling, a blog about Irish culture and traditions, Kelly, who previously specialized in voice training, said music has always been part of his family.

“It’s always been in the genes,” he said.

Kelly was creative with “Hallelujah,” adding his own words to the end of the song to make it special for the couple.

“As Leah’s walking up the aisle/And Chris looks up and gives a smile...”

“With Leah’s friends and family at her side/She really is the blushing bride...”

Kelly, who has been a priest for 25 years, said he’s always dreamed of “hitting it big” but never thought it would happen. He said if he is offered a record deal, he would want to remain a parish priest. He’s scheduled to sing in New York on May 11 with a group of Irish immigrants.

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