Sunday 16 June 2019

'They basically told me to p***s off' - Fr Ray Kelly hits out at record label for cutting him after wowing on BGT

Fr Ray Kelly on Britain's Got Talent. Photo: TV3
Fr Ray Kelly on Britain's Got Talent. Photo: TV3
Singing priest Fr Ray Kelly Newsdesk Newsdesk

Fr Ray Kelly, a Meath priest with the voice of an angel, spoke of his frustrations at being cut by his record label in 2015.

After a clip of singing Hallelujah in church in 2014 went viral, he landed a record deal which lasted for 12 months. After two albums, his deal wasn't renewed and it was back to normal for him - that is, before taking another leap of faith by auditioning for Britain's Got Talent last week where he earned a standing ovation for his version of Everybody Hurts.

But he still feels the sting of his professional singing career ending so abruptly.

"I recorded an album with them. It was a good album but they stopped producing them after that. They basically told me to p**s off. 'We've had enough of you. Nah, singing priests, we've had enough of that kind of stuff'. I suppose that I wasn't Ed Sheeran or Hozier or one of those guys who sells in the millions," he told the Irish Sun on Sunday.

He says he was "scouted" to appear on Ireland's Got Talent on TV3 but had already committed to the British version of the show. "The producers didn't work with me. I rehearse my singing in front of the mirror at home but the best practice I get is from saying mass, baptisms and funerals. So I'm well used to appearing in public."

During his emotional turn on BGT last week, he told the he chose the REM classic because the song is "near and dear to my heart".

"Being a priest you get in touch with a lot of pain, and a lot of joy and happiness as well so I suppose, it’s a song that I can [relate to]."

Actor and author David Walliams described it as a “beautiful performance”, while Alesha Dixon said: “You just seem like the loveliest man. This is a beautiful audition. Well done.”

Singing priest Fr Ray Kelly
Singing priest Fr Ray Kelly

Amanda Holden described his performance as “brilliant and honest, and the whole congregation was behind you”.

Simon admitted: “I wasn’t quite sure what to expect… but this is one of my favourite ever auditions”.

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