There's few artists that have the cut through that Paul Kelly does. His music is cross-generational and his songs share the Australia story. At this year's BIGSOUND, Kelly shared what goes on behind the scenes to a packed Judith Wright Centre.

"A song that’s any good will come at you sideways."

"I think songwriting is mostly play. Play is fairly aimless. It doesn’t have a goal in mind."

"You’ve got to find the time to bore yourself until something happens" - on how he writes songs.

"I think that’s what all writers look for - to be surprised, to be astonished."

"I was standing at a bar at the Corner Hotel" - on overhearing someone tell their friend they 'did all the dumb things' which sparked the song. 

"If you have an idea, write it down straight away because you’ll forget it" - his advice to songwriters.

"Songwriting is just catch it while you can. And make sure you have lots of idle time so you can catch it."

"There is something about a deadline - it does give you a little jolt."

"He wanted to keep the issue of Treaty on the agenda" - on writing with Dr M Yunupingu and Yothu Yindi. 

"I think it started with Grandmaster Flash and The Message" - on where his love of hip hop started.

"[It's] so rich musically. It’s melodic, it’s political. I think it’s accessible. But more than that, the more you listen to it the more you discover" - on Kendrick Lamar.

"I think being a writer and an entertainer has always been an interesting contradiction."

"Songwriting is for lazy people. It’s not writing a novel."

"I never thought that would get really popular" - on the country's love of How To Make Gravy.

"It’s a Christmas song so that’s a pretty specific genre" - laughing about How To Make Gravy.

"Act like you know what your doing. Don’t apologise for yourself" - on faking until you make it.

"'Keep writing' - that’s what he said. So that’s what I did" - Don Walker's advice to him.

Alex Lahey, Angus & Julia Stone, Paul Kelly, Mojo Juju
Sidney Myer Music Bowl, Melbourne
Alex Lahey, D.D Dumbo, Angus & Julia Stone, Angie McMahon, Paul Kelly
The Domain, Sydney
Alex Lahey, Angus & Julia Stone, Paul Kelly, Mojo Juju
Riverstage, Brisbane