Like Il Divo, the Priests make classical music that's intended to appeal to a broad, pop-minded audience. Unlike other classical crossover acts, though, the group's members are all Roman Catholic priests. Father Eugene O'Hagan, Father Martin O'Hagan, and Father David Delargy hail from Northern Ireland, where they began singing together as students at St MacNissi's College. They later trained for the priesthood at the Irish College in Rome, and it was during this time that they were invited to sing for the Pope in the sacred liturgy. Returning to Ireland to work in their separate ministries, the three stayed linked and continued to sing together while still fulfilling their duties as full-time parish priests.
The Priests' ability to absorb and render sacred music, classical arias, and traditional Irish songs with a kind of rare accessibility led to a recording contract with RCA Victor. They began working with famed producer Mike Hedges, and their debut album, simply titled The Priests, was released in 2008. The album was a phenomenal (if unlikely) commercial success, charting high on Billboard's Classical Traditional and Christian/Gospel charts, and amazingly, hitting the number one spot on the Top 200 chart. In true priestly fashion, the trio's share of the proceeds from all this success went to their parishes and to support retired priests. A second album, Harmony, appeared in 2009 to significantly less fanfare, although it charted well in multiple countries. By the following year, the Priests had sold more than three million albums worldwide, and they wrapped up 2010 by releasing a traditional Christmas album, NOËL. ~ Steve Leggett