Calgary's Ellen Doty almost ditched dream of becoming a musician

Photo by Brendan Klem, Jack Singer Stage Feb 19th, 2016

Photo by Brendan Klem, Jack Singer Stage Feb 19th, 2016


By: Jeremy Simes For Metro Published on Wed Feb 10 2016

Ellen Doty traded her textbooks for a career in jazz music. 

It was a decision her parents weren’t too happy about but, it seems, things have been paying off for the local jazz singer-songwriter. 

On Feb. 19, Doty is set to open for Grammy winner Gregory Porter at the Jack Singer. 

Turns out she’s also extremely excited to open for Porter — there’s no such thing as stage fright anymore, she said. 

“You just do it so much that it you really look forward to going up there,” she said. “I really admire (Porter’s) work — he combines all these different genres, and that’s something I’m trying to do.”

Doty is no stranger to jazz — her grandmother used glam it up in Hollywood on the weekends, dancing to Frank Sinatra and Ella Fitzgerald at the Palladium.

So it was just a natural fit for Doty to gravitate to the genre, she said. 

In fact, Doty studied jazz at Carleton before heading to the University of Calgary to study geology. 

“I just did a year of jazz school, and then I was like, “I should probably have a real job,’” she said with a laugh. 

But geology didn’t pan out, either — Doty decided to leave during her third year to become a musician. 

And — fittingly — she titled her full-length debut album Gold. She plans to play some of those tracks — along with newer works — at the Jack Singer, too. 

Her parents have since warmed up to the idea. 

“Your family doesn’t want to see you struggle,” she said. “But I think now they see how much I love it and what it means to me.”

Though winning a Juno or Grammy would be great, she said she hopes to one day sustain herself as a musician — which is challenging from the get-go. 

“But you feel like it’s worth it because you love and you can’t imagine yourself doing anything else,” she said. “The power that music has is incredible.”

Tickets for the show are available at Show starts at 7:30 p.m.


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