A few weeks ago Irish priest Ray Kelly sang a version of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” tailored to the wedding of Leah and Chris O’Kane. The performance was so moving that only days later when the video was posted on YouTube millions of people from all around the world couldn’t stop watching and listening to the powerful cover. Such exposure led the priest to receive invites to sing for weddings in Japan, Lithuania, and Croatia, with first class tickets included.
The ride seems to only be getting started because now both Universal and Sony have offered record deals to the priest of 25 years. Negotiations are underway with both labels, making it incredible that a priest in a small Irish town is now at the center of a bidding war between two of the largest record labels in the world. Such a sudden catapulting to fame has certainly complicated the life of Kelly who must also deal with the pastoral duties of his Church as well as an upcoming appearance for the Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform. Somehow, the priest is able to make it work.
“It’s different,” the priest told the Irish times. “It hasn’t really sunk home yet. I’m still getting on with day-to-day living.”
Sony’s involvement is interesting considering that they were the ones who blocked Ray Kelly’s hugely popular song from YouTube right after it hit 35 million views. The original singer Leonard Cohen is represented by Sony, which may hint at a possible duet should Kelly sign with that label. While the blocking of the video confused Kelly, it appears to have no effect on negotiations with either company.
“It looks like it’s going to happen.” Kelly confirmed. “Dreams do come true.”
Take a look at the original video. It takes a while for the song to start but the buildup adds quite a lot to the performance.