Stripped down like a tree that’s lost its leaves, Ellen Doty’s newest album, Come Fall, highlights the young but seasoned singer’s voice by just having drums and a pianist as accompaniment
The Calgary-born artist recently released her second album and is currently on a two-month tour with a stop at Penticton’s Dream Café scheduled for March 29.
Although it’s her first time at the Dream Café, she’s no stranger to the South Okanagan having had several gigs during her previous self-booked 42-date Canadian tour for her 2014 self-released album Gold.
“I played quite a few outdoor series in wineries in the area. I performed at Naramata Bench, Crush Pad, Liquidity. It’s beautiful there. I’ll be glad to be back. I haven’t played the Dream Café, so I’m really excited about that,” she said.
Come Fall was released March 2 and debuted as number one on the iTunes jazz chart.
Doty said the sophomore album is a bit of a departure from her first and includes not just jazz, but pop, folk and soul influences.
“This music is a mixture of so many things. I don’t even know if you can hear some jazz influence. It doesn’t really fit in that genre this time,” she said. “The sound is quite different in that the whole album is just voice, piano, and drums. There is no layers, no background vocals and bass. We just wanted to leave a lot of space for my voice and the lyrics.”
The original plan for the album was to include an entire band but the sound just wasn’t coming out right.
“We tried it, but there was something not right about it. Once we took the other instruments away, we knew we had it and we did the whole album like that,” she said.
Come Fall was completed more than a year ago, prior to her being signed to Alma Records, a branch of Universal Music.
“I’d already recorded the album when I was signed. Alma Records had heard of the album from different sources and then Universal Music sent it to them, so it was really nice they contacted me and said ‘hey, we heard the album and want to chat,’” she said. “We got introduced about a year ago. It took awhile for the contract to be final and all and now we’re here.”
Although new to being a signed artist, Doty’s history in music dates back to childhood alongside her mother who was an organist and choir director.
Her grandmother also lived across the street from Nat King Cole in Los Angeles, and because of that influence she grew up with an appreciation of jazz music.
“That appreciation was passed down through me from grandparents and my dad. I didn’t start singing jazz until high school but it didn’t seem foreign to me because of that,” she said.
A one-time geology student turned full-time musician, Doty has advice for those wanting to enter the music business.
“I definitely recommend just jumping in and trying to learn as much about the business as you can on your own. Go to seminars and ask for advice and conferences and things. Learn the ins and outs of it. I’d recommend producing your album, booking your own tour, taking care of your own publicity to anyone looking to wanting to learn about the music business. When you do that you feel comfortable making the right decision first off because you’ve done it all yourself and know what it takes.”
Doty plays the Dream Café March 29. Doors open at 6 p.m. with the show starting at 8 p.m. Premium tickets are $27 with wings $17. For more information and tickets go to thedreamcafe.ca.