Father Ray Kelly is not just your average priest. He has a brand new record that has just been released in the US now via Capitol Distribution. The priest came to the public's notice when in April last year, a video surfaced on YouTube of an unassuming Catholic priest singing the classic "Hallelujah" at a wedding ceremony.
Father Ray Kelly renders the song in near pitch-perfection, letting slip an impish grin at one point when the impressed audience's titters become audible. "I didn't mean to shock you," he says, taking the pulpit to thunderous applause. Now at nearly 40 million views, Father Ray's "Original Big surprise for Bride and Groom...Chris and Leah O'Kane" has led to a record deal for his debut album,Where I Belong. Already out in Ireland and Germany, the 12-track effort arrives in the U.K. next week and stateside on Mar. 9 via Universal imprint Manhattan Records.
A mix of originals, covers, Celtic songs and church hymns, Where I Belong was recorded in Father Ray's parochial home and at a studio in Vienna last year.
Now, he leads a quieter life, maintaining his voice with "lots of honey in my porridge" and practicing for his two Cavalier King Charles spaniels. That may change in the spring, when Father Ray is considering a U.S. tour behind his album. "It's St. Paddy's Day time as well, so it'll be very Irish over there," he says, adding that the plan is more for TV performances and talk show appearances than concerts.
"I'm fortunate that my bishop has supported everything that I do, and if I ever needed to go away he could get me a replacement," he says. "It's comforting to know that the people in my parish wouldn't be without a priest, or something like that."
|01. Together Forever (The Wedding Song)|
|03. Galway Bay|
|04. Everybody Hurts|
|05. How Marvelous|
|06. Where I Belong|
|07. Isle Of Hope, Isle Of Tears|
|08. Tears In Heaven|
|09. Amazing Grace|
|10. O Danny Boy|
|11. How Great Thou Art|
|12. Love Shine A Light|