Werribee singer songwriter Billy Bridge is inspired – even at funerals – when it comes to penning lyrics. A previous nominee in country music’s Golden Guitars awards, Bridge has been Australian Independent Rising Star and Victorian Country Music Entertainer of the Year. He chatted to Charlene Macaulay


How did you become a singer and songwriter?

My dad passed away in 1998 from motor neurone disease. He was a singer, but had never recorded anything that he’d done. I was 30, and I’d never recorded anything that I’d done either. And I thought it was about time that I did and released my first EP in 2000. I was also working in the city doing IT systems – you could say that I work to support my music habit.


Tell me about the songwriting process – do you set time aside for your writing, or do you write when you’re struck by inspiration?

The best stuff comes out of nowhere; I’ve got my radar open all the time. Some of the best stuff I’ve ever written has come out in five minutes flat, and doesn’t get changed. I went to the funeral of a man who was one of the Rats of Tobruk. The eulogy talked about how he had been given a signet ring by his girlfriend before he left for war. He was captured by the Germans and put in Auschwitz … and escaped. And he never lost that signet ring so I’ve written a story about that ring. Inspiration can come from strange places.


Tell me about your new album, Stories Through Time.

This is my sixth recording. It is 12 original tracks, and they’re all stories about places and people and characters around Australia, which I’ve heard, or seen, or read about.


Your wife, Rebecca, is a songwriter too. Do you collaborate much?

We have. On my album, we’ve done a duet about our story. It’s the perfect way to tell how we’ve met, and what we’ve been through. She’s an amazing singer, and it’s so good to be able to work with her. She’ll have an album out soon, I’ll have an album out, and we’ll be able to tour together – next year’s going to be fairly busy. We’ve been together 11 years, married for eight. We have three kids, aged eight, six and three.


Who is your favourite songwriter?

Paul McCartney is my hero, both as a songwriter and a singer … and probably Billy Joel and Neil Finn.


Stories Through Time will be launched at the Wyndham Vale North Oval on November 21, starting at 7pm.