‘The Priests’ Sing Live in Armagh Cathedral

“We’re all middle aged now, so we’re not a boy band obviously. We
didn’t just walk away from our parishes and make an album,” says Father
O’Hagan, laughing.  “It must be said that Sony have very
accommodating when it comes to us prioritizing our responsibilities as
priests, so we work around that. Weddings, funerals, baptisms. You
don’t leave your parish, your collogues and a bishop behind. That’s not
the way it works.”

One thing is for certain — they’re going to
become huge international stars. Sony BMG affiliates in 32 countries
including the U.S., the U.K., Australia, Brazil and the Philippines
have already agreed to release their debut album without hearing the
first note.  Now Radiohead’s string arranger is on board, as is
famed photographer David Bailey, who has taken the cover photos. Their
new manager Sam Wright can count Eminem, Marilyn Manson and Jon Bon
Jovi among her former clients. Behind all the glamour they’re still priests, of course.

And
from the beginning Father O’Hagan insisted that his focus as a priest
would not change. In fact he was cautious about the idea of making the
album at all.  But he was reassured when Sony indicated a large
degree of flexibility about their commitments. And since they first
signed on the priests themselves have started to actually enjoy the
work.

Says Father O’Hagan, “It’s been quite a steep learning
curve and this has been an amazing journey thus far. We’ve met some
wonderful people, many of whom have never had occasion to meet a priest
before, so it’s been enriching for us. Many who have met us
accidentally may now see another side to the church.”

“We don’t perhaps appreciate how big that is yet, I suppose.
We’ve been concentrating so much on making the album that we’re just
catching up with how big that exposure might be,” says Father O’Hagan. How do you go back to being a parish priest in a Northern Irish village after you’ve been feted and applauded in Manhattan?

“We
have to be careful to balance all this with our responsibilities back
home. It’s not going to be easy. I don’t think anyone’s done this
before. But we’ll work at it and we’ll cross the bridges as we come to
them. We want to lift people’s hearts with our music.”

And now the moment of truth has arrived as The Priests’ debut album is currently on release, but some time ago they sang live in Armagh Cathedral – see a selecrtion of the pieces by clicking here

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