Legendary Australian singer songwriter Paul Kelly has received an honorary doctorate from the University of Adelaide for his contribution to the country’s music culture.
Kelly, who was awarded a Doctor of Arts during a ceremony on Tuesday, was also acknowledged for his “exceptionally distinguished service to society,” for his creative writing and community service through benefits and fund-raising, and his “significant collaborations” with Indigenous Australian musicians and filmmakers.
“As a leading university in tertiary music education,” commented University of Adelaide Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Warren Bebbington, “we are delighted to be able to recognise Paul Kelly in this way for his contribution through composition, performance and creative writing.”
As a songwriter, Kelly is as prolific as he is revered by his peers. Over a career spanning more than 30 years, Kelly has recorded 19 studio albums (the most recent was Spring And Fall from 2012) two live longplays and a raft of film soundtracks. In 2010, he migrated his story-telling skills to the book-publishing trade with an autobiographical tome, How To Make Gravy. The 560-page memoir reflects his legendary A to Z concert series, where he performs around a hundred of his songs in alphabetical order over four nights.
The Adelaide-born, Melbourne-based musician was inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame in 1997, and during the 2011 APRA Awards Kelly was honored with the Ted Albert Award For Outstanding Services To Australian Music, one of the highest accolades in the Australian music biz. A feature length documentary on the artist, Paul Kelly – Stories Of Me, was released in August 2012.
Watch his speech below: