On Tuesday, September 16, Paul Kelly was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Adelaide in Australia. The singer received the Doctor of Arts for his musical contribution to the country’s culture. The ceremony acknowledged the legendary singer for his “exceptional distinguished service to society” and for his community service-related “significant collaborations.”
“We are delighted to be able to recognize Paul Kelly in this way for his contribution through composition, performance, and creative writing,” said the university’s president Professor Warren Bebbington. “(He) is regarded by his fellow music industry professionals as without peer in Australia and is internationally renowned for his song compositions, creative writing and recorded music performance.”
This is not the first award Kelly has received for his musical contributions. In 1997, he was inducted into the Australian Recording Industry Association Hall of Fame, and received a total of eight awards from the ARIA . In 2011 he received the Ted Albert Award For Outstanding Service To Australian Music. He has also received three Australian Performing Right Association awards, and his song “To Her Door” has been named one of the top 30 best Australian songs of all time.
Born and raised in Adelaide, Kelly began his 30-year career by playing trumpet and piano in college. He put out his first song at age 19, “It’s the Falling Apart that Makes You.” To date, he’s recorded 19 albums, including Hidden Things, Wanted Man, A-Z, Songs From The South, and his most recent Spring and Fall in 2012. Kelly’s memoir, How To Make Gravy, was released in 2010 by Penguin Books, in which he “tells stories around the A-Z song lyrics in alphabetical order.” A feature documentary about his life, Paul Kelly – Stories of Me, was released in August 2012.
Kelly announced a new project earlier this summer. The Merri Soul Sessions is a series of four 7” double-A-side vinyl singles, recorded with Clairy Browne, Vika and Linda Bull, Kira Puru, and Dan Sultan. Working with Linda Bull, Kelly said, “Having half-a-dozen songs now (featuring Linda) that were talking to each other, helped me write a couple more. This is how it goes. One thing leads to another. You never quite know what’s happening ‘til you’re in the middle of it.” Kelly will present The Merri Soul Sessions at the Bluesfest Byron Bay Fest in April, 2015.