Irish priest Father Ray Kelly, whose wedding rendition of Leonard Cohen’s classic “Hallelujah” racked up close to 35 million hits on YouTube in less than a month, has been offered two separate record deals with major record labels.
Kelly, a parish priest in Oldcastle, Co. Meath, became an internet sensation following the April 7 release of the wedding video that saw him surprise a couple during their wedding ceremony when he broke into song.
The video has resulted in a flood of worldwide attention for the padre.
Fr Kelly has been approached by both Sony and Universal and is negotiating a record deal.
Ironically, the video was pulled by Sony, which has the rights to Leonard Cohen’s music, but only after 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 percent of people don’t get a break and now, at this stage of my life, it is happening for me. Dreams do come true.”
Since Fr Kelly sang at the wedding, German television appeared at a recent first communion ceremony in the parish of Oldcastle. An Australian breakfast TV show has also been to film him and Thames Television is coming over.
“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 will arrive in New York next week to perform for the Irish American community.
The LIR’s evening of Irish entertainment will take place at the Town Hall on West 43rd Street on Tuesday, May 13, at 8 p.m. Tickets will be available at the Town Hall box office and through Ticketmaster. For inquiries contact [email protected]
Fr. Kelly's performance of "Hallelujah" on the "Late Late Show" is still online for now, so enjoy!