Live Previews: Ellen Doty at the Bassment

Craig Silliphant, Planet S Magazine

There were more than a few naysayers in Calgary songstress Ellen Doty’s life when she made the decision to leave school to pursue music, rather than finishing her geology degree. But time has proven Doty right: she’s just released her new album Goldto early acclaim, and she’s supporting it with a 30-city Canadian tour.

“It was a hard decision, but I’m so happy that I did it,” says Doty. “I made the jump to go all-in as an artist.”

Influenced by classic artists like Ella Fitzgerald and Nat King Cole, as well as more contemporary singers like Norah Jones, Doty’s music is a laidback cross between traditional jazz and easy-listening pop. She trained in vocal jazz at Carleton University, but it was well-known New York jazz artist Dave Mancini (who’s performed with the likes of Rosemary Clooney and former Tonight Show bandleader Doc Severinsen) who gave her a crash course.

“[Mancini] saw me perform at the Fairmont in Calgary,” says Doty. “He asked me if I wanted to come out [to New York]. I spent a week at his studio in Rochester, [and] he drilled me on all things jazz. I even did some lessons at Juilliard.”

When it comes to the title of the new album, Doty says that Goldmeans something precious, which can be different to each person. Doty’s personal gold was the decision to make music her life.

“[I called the album] Goldbecause this was a journey,” she says. “[It’s] something that was precious to me.”