Ireland’s famous singing priest Father Ray Kelly has announced he is ditching his reality TV career because he no longer “craves” the spotlight.
Father Ray, of Co Meath, became an overnight star in 2014 when a video went viral of him singing to the happy couple while he was officiating their wedding.
The charming cleric interrupted the ceremony to perform a beautiful rendition of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah for newlyweds Chris and Leah O’Kane.
He adjusted the lyrics to make them personal and special and the recording of the song made Father Ray an instant star.
The video was viewed, shared and liked millions of times across social media and Father Ray became an overnight celebrity.
He capitalised on his newfound fame by entering the 2018 edition of the Britain’s Got Talent reality show.
Father Ray’s beautiful voice impressed Simon Cowell and his fellow judges and his performance of REM’s Everybody Hurts became another viral video.
Father Ray made it to the semi-finals of the competition, and next he joined the cast of Dancing with the Stars.
However, as a man of the Church, his exploits in the public arena were not appreciated by everyone.
He received death threats and had to inform the Gardai during his spell on the dance competition.
He has now announced he will not be taking part in any more television talent shows.
Father Ray said: “I’d never do a reality TV show again. Sometimes doing something like that is kind of like a drug as well. You can get hooked on it and want to be doing it all the time.
“Maybe it is because you’re putting yourself out there and you’re in the media and all that. It isn’t something I crave towards at all.
“There are always the ones who make judgements. It doesn’t matter who you are or what you’ve done, they will want you to become what they want you to be rather than who you are.
“I enjoyed it when I did but I have another life here, which is great. But like a lot of people during the Covid times, they were out of work completely, but I had another life completely here to get on as best as I could.”
Although he no longer plans to appear on reality television, Father Ray is still releasing a new album, Hallelujah Day, seven years after his rendition made him a global star.
He said: “It has been seven years since that my very own Hallelujah Day occurred when I sang Leonard Cohen’s ‘Hallelujah’ at a wedding and a video of the occasion went viral, giving me the opportunity to record two albums over time.
“This week I am proud to release the first single of my forthcoming third album and as luck has it, it is indeed called Hallelujah Day.
“It is my song of hope. A song to bring light and on this Easter Day, a song of resurrection for all of you.
“As we journey through this Covid-19 pandemic, I know many people have experienced their own crucifixion through serious illness or indeed the loss of a loved one. But through it all we must have hope. My wish is that this song brings light and hope into all your lives.”
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