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Amelie Patterson has been named Banff’s first Poet Laureate.

Patterson, Banff-born and raised, is a singer-songwriter whose star has been steadily rising. Her website notes that she “grew up listening to classics like Janis Joplin, Van Morrison and Joni Mitchell, and their influence is clear in her bluesy vocals, her folk-rock guitar and her candid, pared-down lyrics.”

Patterson will officially accept the 2017 Laureate designation at a public reception-celebration-performance at The Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies on Feb. 27, beginning at 6 p.m.

As Laureate, Patterson will be an ambassador for literary, musical and other art forms in Banff, making several official public appearances and performances throughout 2017.

Patterson, 27, graduated from University of Victoria with a biology degree in 2013, but the lure of music was stronger than the call to further studies in veterinary medicine. She returned to Alberta and immersed herself in the music scene in Calgary and elsewhere. Her soulful voice and engaging stage presence have kept her in demand, and her well-crafted lyrics ring through.

“I read a lot of poetry. I love poetry anthologies because I find them similar to a good playlist when you’re driving,” said Patterson in a press release. “I love lyrical content in songs, and I remember from an early age talking with my dad about what the lyrics meant in Bob Dylan songs, or with my mom about the story line in Tracy Chapman’s “Fast Car”. I try to be unguarded and authentic with the lyrics in my songwriting, regardless of the story I’m telling. I want to write about the things that matter most to me, and I want to do so with a clear voice and with intention.”

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