Irish priest Ray Kelly is Internet’s new singing priest. The Oldcastle, County Meath parish priest has been invited to appear on the Irish chat show “The Late Late Show” and is inundated with requests from marrying couples ever since his performance was uploaded on YouTube earlier in April.
When he surprised couple Leah and Chris O’Kane with a performance of “Hallelujah” at their wedding, little did Fr Kelly know that he would become a new viral sensation online.
Fr Kelly updated the lyrics of the Leonard Cohen song to be more appropriate for a wedding. The result, as can be seen in the video, was astounding.
Although Fr Kelly told them in advance that he would be performing for them, the O’Kanes were still pleasantly surprised. The entourage were also seen taken aback with Fr Kelly’s pitch perfect, moving performance.
“I knew somebody had taken a video, but I’ve been absolutely flabbergasted by the response, and there has been a fair demand for me to perform now it is online,” the singing priest told the Irish Times.
“I’ve only been on YouTube once or twice in my life so it was a surprise to see the video and see how many views it has, I’ve been floored by the reaction.”
Since it was uploaded on April 7, the video has garnered almost 23 million views, making Fr Kelly an Internet star.
“I’ve made five or six radio appearances so far, and then had a funeral this morning. I’ve got not problem coping with the attention.”
Juggling fame and his role in his church isn’t a problem for him indeed. Fr Kelly is used to performing in front of a crowd. He was a part of The All Priests Show in Dublin, and has performed in the U.S.
“I love to sing, and I love the buzz of performing. I travelled to America and did shows there. I’ve never had to deal with anything like this before, but I’m coping.”
His newfound fame has landed him a guest star spot on “The Late Late Show,” an Irish late night program presented by Ryan Tubridy.
Fr Kelly is taking advantage of his talent to help the poor, though. He plans on releasing a charity album to coincide with his 25th year since he was ordained, hoping that the album, his third, will raise money for local charities.
His first album was called “Simply Me,” while the second was “More of Me.”
Here’s another video of Fr Kelly singing at the wedding of another couple: