'Do what you love,' says musician coming to Horizon

 Photo by Brendan Klem

Photo by Brendan Klem

Following your dreams has not only been the rationale behind Ellen Dotty’s career path, but also the inspiring message within many of her songs.

“Doing what you love… is a really important theme for me in my life,” said the Okotoks-born singer-songwriter. “Really, just do what makes you happy and be excited about being able to do that every day.”

Doty will be at Horizon Stage doing what she loves on Feb. 24 at 7:30 p.m.

She is known for her soulful jazz that incorporates elements of folk and pop to give it that modern twist.

Doty is a storyteller, with intimate and personal works told through her rich, sultry, and sweet voice.

“Many (songs) are relating to love and relationships, but I’ve had some loss in my life, so that is always included in some of my songs,” said the singer, who currently lives in Calgary.

The young songstress has been performing since age five. She studied jazz at Carleton University, and, thinking she should “probably get a real job,” she veered into geological studies at the University of Calgary.

But life had something else in store for her, and Ellen left school in her third year to return to music — a decision she’s thankful she made.

Music has been the 28-year-old’s full-time career since 2013.

The emerging artist has had the opportunity to work with her jazz heroes, such as Al Kay, Pat Labarbera, Bobby Shew, Dave Mancini and PJ Perry.

In 2013, she was the recipient of the Outstanding Soloist Award from the Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival in Idaho.

Doty released her first full-length album, ‘Gold,’ in 2014.

She is currently recording her second album, which includes a song she wrote with Juno award-winning artist Justin Rutledge and a duet with The Dudes’ frontman Danny Vacon.

“The whole album is just me, piano and drums,” Doty said. “The arrangements are really simple and open… and it includes many different influences all meshed together.”

One of the most meaningful songs to the songwriter is ‘Just So You Know,’ which she wrote after losing a close friend in a car accident. While it’s not an easy song for her to perform, it’s one that’s close to her heart.

“The song was inspired by conversations I had with her husband after she passed away,” she explained. “It kind of talks about his journey through grief, and I think it’s a song that a lot of people connect with, because so many have lost people in their lives and struggle with feeling like they’re going to forget that person or they’re losing those memories.”

Doty will be bringing her guitarist and saxophonist with her on her three-week tour, with traditional jazz standards performed in her own unique style.

“I include a bit of soul and Motown kind of music,” she said, adding there are many different influences she incorporates into her show. “There’s a mix of pop and jazz and soul and folk.”

Tickets to the show are $35 for adults and $30 for students and seniors over 65. They can be purchased online through Ticketpro.

mlove@postmedia.com

Twitter: @MarciaTheLovely