As of May 2010 musician Lady Gaga has sold over 15 million records for Universal Music. Universal Music and its subsidiary label, Decca Records, are now hoping that an order of Benedictine nuns will be able to produce similar success. The women religious of the Abbaye de Notre-Dame de l'Annonciation in France won a global search of more than 70 convents across Europe, the U.S. and Africa. The order was chosen as the finest Gregorian chant singers in the world.
This order dates back to the 6th century and, staying true to their reclusive tradition, the nuns did not seek out a record contract. “We never sought this, it came looking for us,” said the Reverend Mother Abbess. "At first we were worried it would affect our cloistered life, so we asked Saint Joseph in prayer. Our prayers were answered, and we thought that this album would be a good thing if it touches people's lives and helps them find peace."
The order’s strict rules also meant that Decca Records managing director Dickon Stainer was unable to enter their cloister to sign the contract. "I passed the contract through the grille, they signed it and passed it back," he said.
The sisters' album, Voice: Chant From Avignon, will be released in November. Decca is hoping to repeat the sales of the Cistercian Monks of Stift Heiligenkreuz, whose 2008 album, Chant: Music for Paradise, has sold more than one million copies.