The Power of Music According to Ellen Doty

Blog by Ellen Doty for Downtown Calgary

Photo by Brendan Klem

Photo by Brendan Klem

When I first started writing music, I was writing just to write. I wanted to make something catchy, or something fun, or something that people would put on repeat. There’s certainly nothing wrong with that, but these days, I’m taking an entirely different approach. I’m trying to write about things that are truly personal and meaningful to me. 

I feel like part of being a songwriter is the ability to be vulnerable, and at first, it’s frightening. But, in the end, if I’m more connected to the music I’m singing, I find that my audience in turn becomes more connected. They can feel the pain, or the joy, or the sorrow in the music and they feel like they are part of the story too. It’s palpable.

On June 16th, I will be performing a selection of original pieces (some from my debut album “Gold”, and some from my upcoming release), as well as some re-imagined standards/covers. One of the most meaningful songs to me is a piece I wrote called “If I Could Love Again”. I still get a little bit choked up telling the story behind the song, but I do my best to hold it together.

Here we go: a few years back, I sang at my friend’s wedding, and two years ago, she was involved in a fatal car accident. Her husband asked if I would sing at the funeral, so we got through that part, and over the past couple of years, him and I have remained good friends.

We’ve talked a lot about his journey through grief, and how difficult it has been, as with anyone that has lost someone. He said that if he ever had the chance to have a love like that again, that he wouldn’t take it for granted. He wishes he had spent less time working at a job that he hated, and had spent more time with her. Through his loss, he’s gained a great appreciation for the simple things in life. I think this sentiment is something we can all learn from. What’s really important in life?

Music, to me, is incredibly powerful. It can evoke such great emotion with just a single note, or a single word, or a single chord. Despite all of the struggles that come with being an artist, I feel incredibly lucky to be doing what I love on a daily basis.

This has been a blog post by Ellen Doty. She is performing as a part of the Downtown Street Piano Series on June 16th, 2016 from Noon to 1pm. For more information on upcoming events, including more Street Piano performances, please visit or you can sign up for the Downtown Calgary Events Newsletter.