After graduating from Berkeley High in 1984, Shelley Doty headed south for college and spent four years at UC San Diego focusing on biology before changing to a music major shortly before graduation. UCSD is where she met Sugar, guitarist Chris Haugen, and drummer Matt Butler, her bandmates in Jambay. She spent about six years touring nationally with the group, which recorded three albums before they disbanded in 1996.

In 1997, she recorded a cover version of L’amour Looks Something Like You for the fan-made compilation album Kate Bush Covered. The track also appeared on Running Up That Hill: Kate Bush Covers For Reproductive Rights in 2014. Having released one solo album, she set up the Shelley Doty X-tet shortly thereafter and released the album Over The Line in 2004. She continues to play live in the USA, both with her X-tet and the reformed Jambay.