AURA / Maura Murphy
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AURA / Maura Murphy

New York City, NY | Established. Jan 01, 2002 | SELF

New York City, NY | SELF
Established on Jan, 2002
Solo Folk Singer/Songwriter





Every decade or so there comes a musician that channels their energy in such a way it becomes instantly popular and influential. Maura Murphy, also known as Aura, is that kind of artist. Filled with raw emotion her songs were created to be an anthem to the current generation of listeners.

Already into her third album Murphy, who recently relocated to Nashville from Los Angeles, won Best Female Rock Vocalist at the L.A. Music Awards in 2006 and has since gone on to win a plethora of accolades from magazines across the country.

Press Pass LA sat down with the rising star to discuss her passions, inspirations and where she sees herself in the future.

PPLA: What got you into music?

MM: I have been into music as long as I can remember. I performed in dozens of musical theater town and school plays from childhood until college. I had imagined myself being on Broadway, as I grew up 30 minutes northwest of New York City, but I went to my first rock concert at Madison Square Garden as a teenager and spent every dollar I had ever saved in buying an electric Fender Stratocaster and Fender amp.

PPLA: How did you discover your genre of choice?

MM: I was always into rock and electronica music. My last cd, “Burning Hearts & Bleeding Stars” was
both genres. I wrote a few songs on that cd that have a lot of spiritual meaning behind them like “Chosen” and “One Step Away.” When I recently moved from Los Angeles to Nashville my new manager, Taylor Morrison, thought that my songs would crossover into the Christian Rock market. We just shot a music video in Nashville for my song “Chosen” where I’m an angel, as I am on the cover of my new cd. I was raised Catholic and hold those values in my heart and they do come out in my lyrics.

PPLA: Who do you consider to be your role models? why?

MM: I first listened to a lot of music from the 1960′s, The Doors, Pink Floyd, Janis Joplin,
Johnny Cash. Green Day and Radiohead had very strong influence on my teenage years. There was so many people than influenced me, not really just one.

PPLA: What song changed your life?

MM: Such a hard question to answer, so I’m going to have to list all of the ones I can think of: “You Oughta Know” by Alanis Morissette “Bittersweet Symphony” by The Verve, “With Or Without You” by U2, “Good Riddance (Time of Your Life” but Green Day, “Get It While You Can” by Janis Joplin,
“Comfortably Numb” by Pink Floyd, “White Rabbit” by Jefferson Airplane, ”Make Damn Sure” by Taking Back Sunday, “Rebellion (Lies)” by Arcade Fire, ”Medication” by OURS, “Okay I Believe You But My Tommy Gun Don’t” by Brand New, “God’s Gonna Cut You Down” by Johnny Cash,”I Shall Believe” Sheryl Crow, “The End” by The Doors, “Down With Disease” by Phish, “No Sleep til Brooklyn by The Beastie Boys, “Only In Dreams” by Weezer, “Empire State of Mind” by JayZ (Feat. Alicia Keys), “Mad World” by Gary Jules,”Creep” by Radiohead (I do a very haunting cover of this song still to this day), ”Remember When” by Alan Jackson, “Country Roads” by John Denver, “The Missing Frame” by AFI and my newest favorite “Oceans” by Hillsong United. I’m sure I’m missing some!
PPLA: Tell me about your new album, what’s the story behind it?

MM: This album will probably be my favorite. My first album was more of an ep recording while attending Berklee College of Music in Boston called ”Running Yourself Against Nothing.” My second album, “Between Reality and a Dream” is very California/Pop-Punk Rock. My last album, “Burning Hearts and Bleeding Stars” was very electronic rock with elements of sound effects I had never used before in production. So this fourth studio album is going back to the roots. It’s going to have a southern rock, bluesy feel with real, live instruments, including fiddle and mandolins on top of the staple guitar, bass and drums and possibly some electronic beats within. A very honest, tell-all, grass roots album with a modern flair!

PPLA: What’s your favorite track off the new album? why?

MM: “For the Rest of My Life” which I co-wrote with one of my best friends, and longest
friends, Shiloh Fernandez (Red Riding Hood, Evil Dead), which tells the story of our friendship that lasted all those crazy years in Los Angeles. He is a very successful actor and on his way to becoming more so.

I was his first roommate in Los Angeles and we have followed each other’s lives and careers through the years. He came up and sang this song with me at our last show at The Roxy in Hollywood. Hopefully he is coming out to Nashville to shoot a music video for the song once it’s finished!

PPLA: What’s your next step? where do you see your career going in the next five years?

MM: I’ve been in Nashville for about 5 weeks now and my plan is to form a touring band to take this new album on the road with by early July. I want to tour as much as possible this year. Being in Tennessee, we are surrounded by so many states, which makes touring a lot easier than living in Los Angeles, where many cities are far away. I am hoping to sign a record deal and have a hit song as well! Lots of great things are in negotiations right now! Dream Big or don’t dream at all!

Visit Aura.

Tags: Aura, country music, hollywood, los angeles, Maura Murphy, nashville, Pink Floyd, Tennessee, the roxy, U2
Category: Interviews, Music, Underground, Up & Coming - Press Pass LA

"Aura "Top 25 Demos of The Year!""

Music Connection gives 8.2 to AURA's "Between Reality and a Dream" CD!!

Music Connection Magazine just reviewed our latest cd, "Between Reality and a Dream" and gave it an amazing 8.2!!! The highest score they gave out in 2006 was an 8.2 and to only 3 bands, one of them being our friend BOMB CHILD!! Check out the small write up below!! Thanks!!

See u Thursday, March 29th @ BB KINGS in the Universal City Walk!! 11pm

L.A.-based Aura's CD is a clinic on how to mount a female-fronted pop-rock project that will appeal to the mainstream. The songs are well crafted, the production is expert, and the performances are exceptional. That's especially true of singer Maura Murphy, who really puts it all together on "Lead Me On," the best song of the bunch. "Love Is A Drug" shows she can deliver a lyric with sensitivity. All in all, this band generates a consistently appealing brand of pop-rock. - Music Connection Magazine

""Audible Aura rocks the Roxy with style""

DAILY SUNDIAL "Audible Aura rocks the Roxy with style"
BY, Jillian Ballard

Imagine being a teenager going to New York City for the first time, and the only thing you can remember is seeing a girl overdosing, possibly on heroin, at the counter of a store called "Funhouse." Fast-forward 10 years, and Maura Murphy stands on stage at the Roxy singing about her experience at the "Funhouse" with lyrics like, "Walk into a gothic store that now reminds me a little of what they said Hell would look like. It claims it has quality rock 'n' roll gear. Does that include the girl overdosing by the counter?"

It's 9:30 p.m. on a Friday night and the Roxy is packed. Although most people in Los Angeles don't go out to clubs until later, fans came out early to hear the band perform. The Roxy crowd of more than 100 is mostly young people between the ages of 18 and 35. With drinks in hand, the Roxy audience was ready to rock-out to the sounds of Aura.

When the lights dimmed and the black curtains went up, the crowd screamed with excitement and rushed to the stage as the lead singer emerged from the darkness with a guitar in hand. As the music began, the people in the front started jumping up and down. As the music began to play, Murphy stood with her hands up and legs out making the shape of a star.

After the intro "Free From your Mind," Aura goes right in to "Funhouse." The song's lyrics are real, because it's something that happened to her. The music goes from being very fast with punchy guitar cords to a slow serene sound with Murphy singing, "It took her mind. It took her time," emphasizing the feeling of a drug overdose.

On stage, Murphy slows her dancing to move along with the music. When you think the song is over, it speeds up again and the crowd screams with excitement. Aside from the singing and guitars, what makes "Funhouse" such a great song is the ever-changing drum patterns. Warren Johnson, the band's drummer, uses technical drumbeat patterns with different fills and rolls. His playing sets him apart from an average drummer in an alternative rock band, by him using the entire drumkit.
Aura formed in 2001 before Murphy finished school at the Berklee College of Music in Boston, where she earned a bachelor's degree in voice and music business. Murphy and her bandmates, Nick Johnson (lead guitar) and Warren Johnson (drummer), all moved from New York. Although they didn't move here together as a band, they brought their New York roots, and along with Marcelo Feldman (bass guitar), uniting in California as Aura.

The band's sound can be described as a mix of Indie, rock and alternative, which sounds like a mix between Evanescence and No Doubt. Aura is not as dark as Evanescence and has an upbeat rhythm that sounds more like No Doubt from the 90s. Murphy's voice is similar to that of Amy Lee, the singer for Evanescence, especially when she holds her note at the end of "Love is a Drug."

"Love is a drug. It's never enough. It's never enough and I can't give it up. Even when I get what I want, I need more. I crave more. My heart's banging on your door," Murphy sings.

The crowd sings along, and by the end of the song "Would You Die for Love," Murphy is on her knees completely into the song like a little girl alone in her room singing along to her favorite music.

Murphy makes connections with the audience by locking eyes with them and acting as if she is only singing to that one person. Nick, the comedian on the stage, makes faces during his solos in "Lead Me On." He uses several different effects on the guitar to make it sound like it's crying. His solo makes the crowd scream with more excitement as Murphy dances around the stage. Nick is a great guitarist and the solo performance in that song proves he has the chops.

For an acoustic performance of "Escape," Murphy played guitar and demonstrated her vocal range and talents singing a ballad, which gave a soothing end to the rock 'n' roll night.

Aura - DAILY SUNDIAL-By, Jillian Ballard

"Aura Live Performance Hollywood, CA REVIEW"

Music Connection Magazine Review AURA The Gig, Hollywood Contact: Altered State Entertain-ment;
The Players:
Maura Murphy, lead vocals; Nick Johnson, lead guitar; Sean Stamps, bass; Dan Engelberg, rhythm guitar; Scott Borakove, drums.
Combining themes of social consciousness with memorable musical hooks in a hard-rocking format might seem like a formidable challenge, but Aura pull it off with flair. The song Fun House is KROQ quality and should be getting airplay. The songs have positive, hopeful lyrics dealing with everyday struggles and are well written and crafted into music that appeals to a wide audience.
Each of the five members is a graduate of Berklee College of Music in Boston, and the training and talent are evident. Especially noteworthy is the effects work of bassist Stamps, as well as Murphys pipes, which are crystal clear despite the loudness of the music. The harmonies between Murphy and Stamps are similarly praiseworthy, as is the overall chemistry of the band. Performance:
Aura put on a spectacular show and watched the crowd double in size and intensity during the groups short set. Drawing comparisons with No Doubt and Gwen Stefani, Aura were not afraid to tackle deep issues. Amid the constant flashing of cameras and the cheers of their fans, Murphy showed a great deal of confidence and poise, way beyond her years. At one point, she leaped off the stage and took the music to the crowd, literally getting in their faces much to the delight of the bands ecstatic fans.
Building upon this groups training at one of the better music schools in the U.S., the expertise and determination of Aura are palpable. This group has chemistry, great chops, memorable lyrics and a look that should take them far all in all, the total package for success.
Bob Leggett Music Connection Magazine - Music Connection Magazine

"The Evolution Of AURA"

"The Evolution Of AURA"
Veronica Barriga

It’s a record release party. The album? Burning Hearts and Bleeding Stars. Aura’s powerful voice drives the celebration. Her prom dress attire makes a statement out on the infamous Roxy stage, as people wave glowing toy wands in support of their edgy rock princess, while her free flowing blonde locks shine bright under the colorful house lights. Its official, Aura is back on stage doing what feels most natural to her: performing music. “Sometimes it’s easier to write and perform songs than it is to talk to people,” she shares. In 2001 singer/song writer Maura Murphy created Aura. Since then you may have caught her tunes on shows like The Young and the Restless, Jennifer Love Hewitt’s, The Client List, and a slew of reality shows. Her impressive rendition of Amazing Grace was featured in the box office smash, Chronicle.

Aura’s past work has been recognized with awards from Music Connection Magazine, LA Music Awards, and All Access Magazine. However, she’ll tell you that her 3rd album release, Burning Hearts and Bleeding Stars is her most personal and biggest accomplishment to date. “This one is my favorite, it was the first time I didn’t feel like I was trying to be someone else.” With a combination of inspirational anthems like Chosen, and haunting tales of despair in Escape, the album has definite range but, most importantly, it displays a journey of truth.
Check it:
Veronica Barriga: When do you first recall discovering music, falling in love with it?
AURA: I was really young, I was the middle child and my brothers were very successful, very good looking. I felt like the odd one- the middle child, so I would just sing, and really got known for singing at a young ag. Then I started taking voice lessons. I did musical theater till about 9th grade and, when my grandmother passed away, I took all my money and bought my electric guitar that I still play now, and my first acoustic guitar. I felt good writing stuff down. That was how I got through High School.
VB: During that time you joined a punk rock band, how did that experience influence you?
AURA: Completely. I did everything to get in that band and they said, “No girls- No girls,” then they said “You have to learn an instrument.” So that pushed me to get better at guitar, and then I came back to them and they say, “Well you can’t be in the band unless your brother is the lead singer.” So he joined the band, I became his background singer. I helped him write all the songs. They he went off to college and I became the lead singer. We called ourselves The Under-Age and we played D.A.R.E gigs, school functions, and sometimes even clubs because we had fake I.D’s.
VB: What’s the biggest difference for you between the first album release and this current one?
AURA: I’ve never been so proud. It was so much work and now I feel like I did my job. In the past I always did too much management, all these “things”, and now I just focus on the music. I just got darker and more honest, admitted that I wasn’t the greatest singer in the world, but that I could relate to other people. I really wanted the sound to be more spacey and have effects. Hal Cantrell… he really deserves a lot. He added all the elements of the sound effects. We actually moved in together as friends. I made the recording studio in my house, built the soundproof walls and everything, because I hated being on the clock. So we worked on the album non-stop till 4 or 5 in the morning. I would recommend it to anyone, it’s much more organic that way… But the stuff doesn’t come off your walls. I had to pay for that when I moved out. Just a note to everyone out there… (She laughs).
VB: Who is your dream collaboration?
AURA: My favorite singer in the entire world is Jimmy Gnecco, lead singer in a band named Ours. He had Rick Rubin record an album, and the guy literally did not want fame. But if you go see their shows at places like Hotel Café or The Roxy… Anyw - Behind The Hype

"In The Studio with AURA"

In the Studio with AURA
Burning Hearts & Bleeding Stars
Produced by AURA // Engineered by Hall Cantrell and Joey Ayoub (Sound Salon Studio) // Assistant Engineers: Kristen Smith and Mike Eckes

Singer/songwriter Maura Murphy has been performing under the AURA moniker for ten years. Her musical aspirations took her from her NYC home to Boston’s Berklee College of Music, to her new haunts in Los Angeles. 2002’s Running Yourself Against Nothing and 2006’s Between Reality and a Dream showcased her strong vocals and knack for writing hook-laced rock anthems about love, innocence and finding oneself. Now a little older and a lot wiser, she and her bandmates have taken AURA to a new plateau with their latest effort, Burning Hearts & Bleeding Stars, an album that Maura says, “Sounds like Nine Inch Nails, Evanescence and Radiohead with my voice!”

How did you arrive at your current lineup for this record?

MAURA: I’ve been performing under the name AURA since I recorded my first album in 2001. The producer, David Giangarra (CHEECH/Dank Records), put Warren Johnson, my current drummer, in my band and we recorded the first CD, Running Yourself Against Nothing. Jon Chi (guitar), Hall Cantrell (programming), and Marcelo Feldman (bass) also went to the Berklee, but we didn’t meet until I moved Los Angeles. I have seen musicians from my band tour the world with famous artists. I have to work around that schedule sometimes, too. I also have James Emley playing piano on the CD, who has been on stage with AURA before. A couple years ago I met an amazing songwriter, Brian Blake and we wrote four of the songs on this album together. This CD is a collaboration of a lot of amazing talent! I’m really proud of it.

LISTEN NOW: “We Are The Chosen”

What’s the story behind the album?

MAURA: Burning Hearts & Bleeding Stars comes from the stories I’ve lived for the last four years. I write songs like these when something happens in my life that makes me absolutely have to make it into a song. Some of the stories are very sad and some are really powerful and uplifting. It’s the struggle and the absolute devotion to never, ever give up on yourself or your dreams!

How did the material for the album come to fruition?

MAURA: We started recording this CD in the summer of 2010. The songs are about living in Los Angeles, the friends, the crazy and sometimes unbelievable things that happen here, and the people I’ve known, some who are becoming very well known, some who have almost not lived through the experience. I wrote many songs and chose the best ones for this CD.

Did you learn any lessons from the last album that you wanted to change with this session?

MAURA: Every time I listen back to [2006’s Between Reality and a Dream] I wished we had waited, added things and spent more time in the small, yet important details like we have with this album. I always wanted more atmospheric sounds and beats added. Hall and Jon have really added that part to the music.

How did you choose the studio?

MAURA: I sang on a CD called Dream Vampires that was recorded at Sound Salon, owned by Joey Ayoub, who was also the engineer and a great producer/drummer himself. Joey has his studio set up perfectly for drum recording, so I knew it would be the perfect atmosphere for the AURA album. It’s right in the heart of Hollywood.

What kind of sound were you looking for and how did you achieve it?

HALL CANTRELL: Maura’s voice is so powerful and unique I wanted to use sounds that no one had heard before to compliment that. I did a lot of field recording in unusual places, like close mic’ing a heat vent, tapping stacks of quarters…Using these sounds as a source for processing yielded some interesting results.

Can you describe the guitar work on the album?

JON CHI: My main goal with the guitar parts was to create an emotional backdrop for the stories in Maura’s songs. I was constantly seeking a balance between melody and atmosphere. I love adding subtle textures to songs and a lot of the flavors that I love are a perfect compliment to Maura’s vocals and songs. I used everything from Lap Steel (a 1950s Fender), to an EBow, to an Angel Hair (high-strung) guitar. For more atmosphere, I often employ a volume pedal for swells.

For most of the melodic and solo guitar parts, I played a Paul Reed Smith hollow body through a Budda Twinmaster Ten, and sometimes simultaneously through 1970s Princeton Reverb. My favorite delay pedal is the Maxon Analog Delay, and I used that quite often, typically dialing it in by ear to be a dotted eighth note delay time. The dotted eighth delay works to create interesting harmonies between the direct signal and the delayed signal. I also typically had both a close mic on the amp and a room mic to capture ambience that we could blend into the mix. I’m a firm believer that capturing ambience is a huge part of making a record, and I think we were able to achieve that and create an emotional backdrop for her stories.

What did you try to accomplish in the studio that you’re not able to do live?

MAURA: The best part of the studio experience is the layering of guitars and vocals. We sometimes use three guitars on stage, but never 5-7 and that’s how many intricate parts are played on most of the songs. Live, we also don’t have a back up singer and I sing anywhere from 2-10 vocal harmonies on the CD. Hall told me Trent Reznor does this and I love it! - Performer Magazine


2002 “Running Yourself Against Nothing”
2006 “Between Reality & a Dream”
2012 "Burning Hearts & Bleeding Stars"

2007 “Top 25 Reviewed Demos of the Year”
Music Connection Magazine
2006 “Best Female Indie Vocalist of The Year”
L.A. Music Awards
2006 “Best Female Rock Vocalist of The Year”
All Access Magazine Awards



Maura Murphy (AURA) Singer/Songwriter/Guitarist/Pianist

TV & Film Licensing

Sept. 2015: AURA's "Always On The Run" is licensed for the feature film Lucky N#mber starring Method Man

Jun. 2014: AURA's "Love Is A Drug" is featured in the film Dependent's Day

 Apr. 2013: Maura Murphy plays the lead in studio recording of The Fall of Grace © 2013 Fanticide

July 2012: AURA's "Insane" is licensed for the feature film Lost in Reality

June 2012: Licensed AURA's "My Addiction" for the entire ending montage of feature film Love, Lust and a Room Key

Feb. 2012: Licensed "Teen Angst" for the feature horror film Bloody Homecoming
(Experience Music Group)

Jan. 2011: Vocalist for 10 sound-alikes for the MEGATRAX MUSIC LIBRARY

Jan. 2010: AURA's “Always On The Run” is sold to MEGATRAX

Jan. 2010: Vocalist of the title track, “Beautiful Sight”, in the movie I Heart Hollywood

Oct. 2009: Maura Murphy’s voice is the jingle for E Channels Little Miss show

Sept. 2008: Maura Murphy's “Don’t Wake Me Up”is licensed for Soap Net’s Fashionista Diaries for the season finale with Jennifer Lopez

Aug. 2007: AURA’s “Funhouse” is licensed for the credits in the horror film The Cook

Jan. 2006: AURA's“Lead Me On”is licensed for Johnson & Johnson’s Internet TV show Hampton High

Apr. 2006: AURA's “Go On” was licensed to the E-Style Channel for Relationship Rehab as the theme song

Aug. 2005: Licensed “Go On” to as the website's theme song

Aug. 2001:  Licensed “Go On” to CBS’s The Young And The Restless

Jingles & Voice Overs

Nov. 2010: Maura is the voice in the jingle of a Fur Real Friends commercial
Apr. 2010: Maura is the voice in the jingles for the 2010 POLLY POCKETS (Mattel) PROMO Nov. 2009: Maura is the voice in the jingle for Dr. Scholl’s Foot Inserts For Women
Nov. 2008: Voice Over for Disney’ s “Cheetah Girls: One World” DVD/Blue Ray Release
Oct. 2008: Voice Over for Gold’ s Gym (Redondo Beach) Commercial
Sept. 2008: Maura is the voice for the Santa Monica Acura car commercial jingle


Guitar Center “Battle of the Bands” top finalist
“Top 25 Reviewed Demos of the Year” Music Connection Magazine “Best Female Indie Vocalist of The Year” L.A. Music Awards
“Best Female Rock Vocalist of The Year” All Access Magazine Awards

2003 Running Yourself Against Nothing

2007 Between Reality and a Dream  

2012 Burning Hearts & Bleeding Stars

Maura Murphy IS AURA.

She was born a star with a bleeding heart- AURAs vocals will sweep you away from this mundane world and into one that is tortured, yet gentle. Her songwriting/lyrical skills are an anthem to our generation, filled with the raw emotions of heartbreak and hope. AURA's inspiration comes as an inescapable need within her to express her personal tragedies and share her life lessons. AURA is the answer to the music industry's search for a powerful, raw, edgy and undeniable female rock star!
In 2001, AURA was created by singer/songwriter Maura Murphy, whom by the time she graduated high school, had already successfully fronted a punk band as well as an acoustic rock band. In 2002, AURA released her 1st CD,
Running Yourself Against Nothing, where AURAs song "Go On" was quickly picked up and licensed by CBS Networks "The Young and the Restless."
In 2004, AURA relocated to Los Angeles, CA for a creative change of pace where she found inspiration for her 2nd CD, Between Reality and a Dream, which was released in 2006 earning her "Best Female Indie Rock Vocalist" by L.A. Music Awards, Best Female Indie Rock Vocalist by All Access Magazine, and also earned AURA a spot in the "Top 25 Reviewed Demos of the Year" with Music Connection Magazine.
In 2012 AURA released her 3rd cd, "Burning Hearts & Bleeding Stars" and licensed several songs from the cd while touring the southwest.

In 2014 AURA relocated to Nashville, TN and honed her writing craft and has now moved to NYC to record her much anticipated 2017 solo album.
For more 2017 tour, music, press and pictures go to

Band Members