If you didn’t see it, the following video went viral during 2014 following the wedding of Chris and Leah O’Kane. Fr. Ray Kelly sung the classic songs Hallelujah with his own marriage-themed lyrics. Since the video was posted, it’s been seen by nearly 40 million people around the world!
Friends and family were amazed as the Irish priest belted out the lyrics.
The BBC reported on the immediate success of Kelly’s singing.
“This morning, I was on Polish television over Skype and I did an interview with New Zealand radio, I’m doing a magazine interview later and a television crew is coming down today to film a documentary,” he says.
“I’m handling it with ease at the moment, but it’s Holy Week – the biggest week in the church’s calendar – so it’s quite a bit of pressure to work around the parish life while dealing with all the media attention.”
Fr Kelly was in the middle of recording his third album that he planned to release for charity in his parish of Oldcastle, County Meath, when the video went viral.
While he had vowed that it would be his last album, he now says he is getting attention from record companies.
Kelly says that he had forgotten where the lyrics of the song around the theme of marriage came from and recalled that he had performed it at another wedding back in 2010 in Enniskillen, County Femanagh.
The amazing thing is that the words were written by a 10-year-old girl named Lucy Pitts O’Connor who wanted to make something special for her godmother’s wedding.
I used to be part of the All Priests Show, where we travelled all over Ireland and to places like New York and Boston,” he told the BBC.
“I’ve always loved singing and performing, and even while studying for the priesthood we’d put on shows and musicals.”
Shortly after the video had gained over 30 million viewers, YouTube pulled the video claiming an infringement of copyright by Sony ATV Publishing. However, that may have been due to his meeting with Sony concerning a record deal. Other versions of the priest’s performance later surfaced across YouTube and the web.
He eventually appeared on the Late Late Show and even flew to New York to perform at The Town Hall on May 13, 2014.