Singing Irish priest Ray Kelly lands record deal after viral 'Hallelujah' video

Father Ray KellyYouTube video screenshot

A viral Youtube video has led to a record deal for its star, Father Ray Kelly, The Irish Mirror reports.

The Irish priest sang a personalised rendition of "Hallelujah" while officiating a couple's wedding, and the footage was uploaded to YouTube in April. The media frenzy that followed led to Kelly signing a recording contract with Universal Music Ireland.

"It's all go and I'm working away and there's been a producer and musical arranger over from Austria working with me," Kelly told the Irish Mirror last week.

"We're looking to get an album out before Christmas and there'll be three or four originals on it that I wrote and one new wedding song, as well as one or two Christmas favourites.

"We'll target the Irish market at Christmas, then Germany in January next year, and after that the U.S. around St Patrick's Day."

Kelly, 60, revealed four months ago that Sony Music and an independent record label were also courting him. In deciding which company to sign with, he considered the time he would have to spend away from his parish, and the monetary compensation offered.

"I would like to be in a position to be able to donate more to certain charities and to look after members of my own family, some of who are in negative equity," he said.

"I also have personal needs and want to look after myself, as I'm not on a huge salary as a priest."

The Oldcastle, Meath priest will perform in a few concerts in Ireland this year before embarking on an American tour around St. Patrick's Day.

Kelly described his viral video as an extraordinary stroke of luck.

"It's kind of like somebody winning the Lotto – and then all of a sudden their life changes forever," he told the Irish Independent. "Somebody even compared me to a male Susan Boyle.''