Malta’s singing priest Fr Rob Galea could soon become a Hollywood sensation as film producers who bought the rights to his book are adapting it for the big screen and trying to convince superstar actor Ryan Gosling to take the leading role.
Although nothing is concrete yet, a mockup poster of the film has already been uploaded to IMDB and shows the producers are also reaching out to Roberto Benigni and Andrea Bocelli, who recently graced Malta’s shores to perform in the 20th concert of Joseph Calleja.
Fr Galea, 35, has been making music since the death of a close friend named Daniel, who had Muscular Dystrophy.
This heartfelt ode “Danny Boy” earned Galea some radio-play in Malta and set off a chain reaction which led him to a world stage, including a record deal with Sony, six studio albums, an appearance on X Factor Australia and a book deal.
His book is about to hit Australian and European shelves this December, before hitting the US in November 2018.
“It’s based on my story of conversion, coming from a place of depression and anxiety to a place where I work with people with depression and anxiety. It also talks about my experiences travelling, and stories from when I was bullied as a school kid. It’s more of a reflection book. So it’s not just my story, it’s to help others reflect on their own story,” he told Lovin Malta.
Fr Galea, who lives in Australia, is currently visiting Malta to promote a new single with Malta’s pop sweetheart Ira Losco entitled “Dominoes“. It’s a pop song which strays slightly from his typical acoustic alternative rock sound, however Fr Galea said it was such a positive experience working with Ira that he might hang around the pop genre a bit longer, and make next year’s album an alt-pop fusion.
“Ira’s wonderful, lovely, and generous,” he says, impressed at the fact that she woke up at 4am to film the music video for the song which will be out on September 15th.
“I think it’s beautiful. She calls it an ‘unlikely collaboration’, which, I suppose it is. But not for me. I work with people like her all the time, secular artists, all types of artists,” Fr Galea said.
“While working with her, I think we came up with a common message: the recognition that we’re all messed up. I’m a priest and I’m messed up. She’s a mum and she’s messed up, too – she doesn’t have it all together. We all have a million pieces; we’re broken. But when this brokenness comes together in love – with love – and when we look after each other and take care of each other, and look up to the transcendent – then it becomes a work of art. These billions of pieces become a work of art.”
Fr Galea has clung on to his humility in the face of growing fame, maintaining the belief that “the message” is what brought him to the world stage, and he would therefore use the world stage to spread his message; a spiritual-artistic symbiotic relationship of sorts.
“I’m not a pop star. See, I was on the X-Factor but I didn’t ask to be on. They asked me to audition, so I auditioned and I did well. At the end of the day I’m not interested in fame, I’m interested in leaving a message. First I’m a Christian –that’s the most important thing. Then I’m priest. Then after that I’m a musician, a film-maker, and author. I have a Hollywood film coming out, working with a whole Hollywood team. But these are all by-products of my relationship with God and my call to give hope.”
While royalties from six albums, three world tours per year, a book deal, and selling the book’s rights to make a Hollywood film certainly all earn the artist money; Fr Galea tells us that all profits earned go right back to the ministry, or to help employ his manager.
“In August of next year I’ll have a new album out and I’ll be visiting Malta first,” Fr Galea said. “I plan on returning next June and hope to put on a concert here as well. Smaller shows but they all tend to sell out!”