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Independence, Kansas, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2014 | SELF

Independence, Kansas, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2014
Band Pop Indie




"On The Road Again: Tips While Touring"

Simplify the Stage

It can be tempting to try to emulate some of the elaborate lighting and special effects you see, and it can be easy to go overboard trying to create something new and unique. Start small, and don’t lose too much of the focus from your music.

The Colton and Zara Band
The young pop/indie/folk group, The Colton and Zara Band, from Kansas, play 100 to 200 shows every year, although they’re still waiting for the chance to tour with Eisley, Switchfoot, or Mutemath. They’ve learned to keep the effects minimal:

Currently, we don't use much lighting or special effects. We like to stay raw and natural, with lots of energy and excitement within that. - Musician's Friend- The Hub

"Murmuration's Joyous Pop Family"

by Ari Roth

Although Murmuration is technically a new band, the joyous pop group has a long history. In fact, the launch of the Murmuration name is something of a rebirth for the project, which originally started out when bandleaders Colton Davy and Zara Davy began making acoustic music together under their own names as 16 year olds.

Colton explains, “six years later, we grew to a full band, and with that we wanted something to encompass who we actually are. The band name was Colton and Zara before, because it was really easy to be like, ‘yeah, we’re Colton and Zara!’ but we wanted something that encompassed who we were, and what we wanted to represent.”

After much deliberation, they finally chose the name Murmuration, which is the word for “a giant flock of starlings gathered, this huge flock of birds coming together. They might each be a common thing by themselves, but when they come together, they make something beautiful and amazing, something so much bigger than they are.”

Fittingly, the band’s music is a product of collective playing from each of the band’s eight members, none of whom are flashy or virtuosic on their own, but who combine to create a sound much greater than the sum of its parts. The band’s members range from ages 16 to 24, and include Colton’s brother Dustin Davy on percussion, and bassist Darren Schrag, along with Colton’s sister Stevie Schrag on auxiliary percussion, who is also married to Darren. Taylor Dufur plays synthesizer for Murmuration, and Colton says that “she adds such a dynamic element to our band, because when we were just acoustic, it really had that natural, raw feeling, but when we bring in a synth, it brings a different life to the music.” Matt Schoonmaker on drums rounds out the lineup, along with Colton and Zara still at the center, on vocals and guitar and vocals and keyboards, respectively.

The announcement of Murmuration’s new name also came with a brand new single, “Making Sound”. Colton says, “we really wanted to make a song that celebrated our new name, and that encapsulated who we are, and what we’re trying to do. The song is all about coming together and making sound. It’s a fun, upbeat, happy song!”

With this song released, the band is already looking to the future, and Zara says that they have another single planned for release soon as well. Many of the new songs were born out of an experiment in prolific productivity, and Zara describes how “this year we challenged ourselves to write a hundred songs within a few months. We’re almost there, we have about eighteen left, and we’re trying to find the best of the best of what we can do, and bring that to our band to make it a full album.”

Colton adds that the band wants to use the simple joy and excitement of their music to deal with universal, profound themes. He tells me, “we love to talk about the deeper things in life, and we hope to cause people to think and ponder with us. We like to capture the feeling of bigness, and the sense of longing that everybody has. That’s what we’re hoping to encapsulate in the album, but also this sense of fun. We want to bring those elements together.”

Given the band’s sound, their constellation of musical influences make sense: Colton and Zara cite popular bands and artists such as Foster The People, Imagine Dragons, John Mayer, Vampire Weekend and Jack Johnson, along with smaller indie acts such as Josh Garrels and Runaway Symphony, the latter of whom Murmuration toured with several years ago. In particular, Zara is a huge fan of Texan indie pop band Eisley, who she says have “been my favorite since I was thirteen, and have impacted my life pretty heavily. They’ve really affected how I sing and how I write, and even how I view life.” Zara gravitates towards “anything fun and energetic,” while Colton loves “organic, natural-feeling music,” qualities which have both translated into the band’s music.

Although the majority of those acts are secular, the influence of artists like Josh Garrels suggests something of the Christian element that informs Murmuration’s music. When I initially contacted Colton for this interview, the band was away leading worship at a camp called CentriKid, and spirituality is a central aspect of the band, both in life and in music.

Colton says that “it affects everything about our life, everything about who we are. It shapes us, it leads every thought, every word, every action that we do.” The jubilation of praising God is suffused throughout their music, whether or not their lyrics are always overtly referencing religious themes. Colton agrees, telling me that “it has definitely seeped into our music, and we like that because we love God, and we’re Christians, and we want to make music that we believe pleases God, and also encourages people.”

Like many unsigned bands, Murmuration have fast learned that their job goes far beyond simply making music and playing shows. On one hand, the band has spent enough time involved in the industry that they’ve come to the realization that “a lot of the things that they do, we actually can do on our own, and we have the resources and the capabilities (and enough people!) within our own talents to be able to reach out and accomplish a lot of what they do.”

Still, there is no denying that “it can be extremely overwhelming, trying to be a marketer and a songwriter and a social networker,” and that running your own band on the business side can be a daunting full time job in itself. Given all of that, Colton does acknowledge that “if the opportunity arises, and it’s a good label, we would still probably work with a label,” perhaps leading to their “dream,” where they are able to devote themselves entirely to their art without taking on so many other business responsibilities.

Now, Murmuration have set their sights firmly on recording and completing their album, which will doubtless win them countless new fans. The band also hopes to organize a particularly warm, intimate tour that fits the band’s style and ethos perfectly, in which the band will play in the living rooms of some of their biggest fans.

Colton explains, “we’ve met a lot of friends throughout our touring years, and we’ve realized that a lot of people are interested in having us come play shows at their houses. We’ve done a few of them before, and they’ve always had a really positive effect, so we wanted to make a tour out of it, connecting all of our friends together. We’re going to play at a lot of our fans’ houses, and they will invite their friends over, and we’re going to put on a really fun show, and hang out after the show and make friends. That’s what we really love to do.”

This kind of closeness, love and connection is at the heart of what makes Murmuration an exciting band, one that is getting ready to embark on a beautiful new chapter. - That Music Mag

"The Colton and Zara Band"

The Colton and Zara Band was born out of Independence, KS, when childhood friends Colton and Zara won a BWAM competition in Nashville, TN. Ranging in ages 16-23, the band has released 3 albums and a single, "You Are Love" that is currently airing on several radio stations nationwide and world-wide, along with Daily Unsigned Radio, DLC Radio, and Rdio. The Colton and Zara Band are adventurous in nature and style, spreading music worldwide that's fun and upbeat, yet also purposeful and encouraging in the lives of all ages. They've opened for bands such as Sanctus Real, Krystal Meyers, We Are Leo, After Edmund, Par~a~digm Rock Band, DaMac, and Crazy Crazy Awesome Awesome. Zara also added vocals onto the hip-hop album, "Man Up 116" song, "Envy", featuring Lecrae, Tedashii, KB, PRo, Trip Lee, and Andy Mineo. Their cover video of "Don't You Worry Child" was recently accepted into the Global Citizen Festival. The adventures of their tour experiences cover a West Coast Beginnings Tour ('09), Nashville Tour ('10), The Extreme Tour ('11-'12), IN-IL tour ('13), performing more than 100 shows yearly in festivals, venues, and conferences. The band is currently planning tour dates for 2014, recently released a holiday single, and are recording an LP album to release Spring 2014.

"Dude! Within the past year has been some of the most exciting happenings for us. The past five years were a hard push of constant touring, growing, learning, refining (especially when the rest of the 7-member band joined-- that's been a HUGE, amazing gift and accomplishment in itself. They've changed everything for the good of, well, everything)."

popVLTR: You've been making moves in Kansas, how'd you get into music? Zara: Colton and I grew up both playing instruments and taking lessons. He learned guitar at 12, and taught me what he knew as we grew up, and I took piano lessons when I was 9. The two of us both created a band with our friends when we were 16 (2007), just for fun, and recorded our own album and toured a little. We'd put our music online, and Miley Cyrus' sister, Brandi, found it, and suggested we try out for this competition in Nashville. But right before we were supposed to go, the band split up, mostly for college reasons. So he and I kept writing songs together and playing. One evening, our families went camping together, and Colton and I played around the campfire for our families. Our dads informed us that the competition had been prolonged, and that they were still looking for bands to compete, and suggested we try out for it, as a duo. So, we did. We practiced while still in school to become veterinarians, and went to the competition for fun. We ended up winning, getting signed to a minor label, going out to record our first EP a couple months later, and being sent on tour that summer. It was quite the whirlwind. (Laughs) After getting signed, we quit school, and focused full-time on music. And so we've been touring, recording albums, writing songs, and doing music videos since 2008, and it's been SOOO amazing!

popVLTR: Congrats on the success of 'You Are Love', who are some of your influences? Zara:
Thanks so much! It's been really cool to see it out there on radio and winning contests. It's been a dream on the bucket list to have a song do so, and it's cool to see that coming into play! As far as influences go, it SOOO varies with each member of the band. XD We're pretty eclectic in our tastes. As far as songwriting goes, though, Colton was really influenced by Jack Johnson, John Mayer, The Beatles, and in the recent past, Imagine Dragons and Alexi Murdock a lot. He tends more towards the chill music. For me, Eisley, hands down, did most of the influencing. I grew up with a lot of 60's and 70's music, but the faves that have stuck have been Eisley, Kimbra, Foster the People, and The Hush Sound. It's fun to mesh the two songwriting influences together and see adventurous music pop out.

popVLTR: What are some of your proudest moments in music? Zara: Dude! Within the past year has been some of the most exciting happenings for us. The past five years were a hard push of constant touring, growing, learning, refining (especially when the rest of the 7-member band joined-- that's been a HUGE, amazing gift and accomplishment in itself. They've changed everything for the good of, well, everything). Trying to figure out what we wanted to do with this new-found path of life, touring the country, recording in different studios, playing with cool bands, finding our niche and what we love most- those have been pretty cool accomplishments, too (5 years is a long time to work it all out, and it was REALLY hard sometimes, but we wouldn't trade those years for anything). But this past year (2013), we've showcased for a major label, won cool competitions, made music videos, bought (and won) all our own recording gear and are learning recording for ourselves, gotten a lot of attention from our music getting on the radio and moving around the internet, have gotten sponsored by a bunch of different sweet companies, and are getting paid for shows. And now, we've even been interviewed by a magazine. That's pretty tight, gotta' admit. We never thought any of the things that have happened could have EVER happened to US. Always daydreamed of it all happening, unknowingly wished, but didn't know it actually could and would happen. We are nobodies- still nobodies- that have been sent out to see everything unfold before us, and lives changed. It's been unbelievable, unreal, super enjoyable, and we're thankful for every second of it all.

popVLTR: What cool stuff is on the horizon for The Colton and Zara Band? Zara: A lot, actually. Right now, we're in the midst of recording our fourth album, an LP, in our own studio, with the music we feel like we've finally settled into. We're also planning a tour with another band that's partnering up with an organization called 'Feed My Starving Children' out of Chicago that's set out to do just that- feed starving children around the world. Super excited to work with them. Waiting for the acoustic 'You Are Love' music video to get back to us, so we can release it to everyone (so excited to share that), and plans for more music videos in the year. We just won the Daily Unsigned Radio's Project Aha contest (which came as a surprise to us-- we didn't even know we were apart of it till half-way through the contest!), and will be receiving some PRETTY tight gear from Harman/JBL, which we're really excited about. Talking possibly of doing a Christmas Tour this winter, and recording another EP later this year (already excited to write and record more after this LP). So yeah, a lot on the horizon- Colton and I want to take the "write 100 songs" challenge in the next couple months, too, so we'll see how that goes. Thank you so much for interviewing us! We really appreciate it, and feel honored to be in popVLTR! :) - Pop Vulture

"Colton and Zara My Favorite Day"

I'm an old man. Life has ground me down to the point where, in the words of the song, down looks up to me. I have no truck with young people. They've got their whole lives ahead of them, and have no notion of the despair and pain it can bring. I especially have no truck with "whimsical folk duos".

So, blow me down, when Colton and Zara, who fall firmly into the midst of whimsy and folk, and are barely out of nappies, come along with their jaunty tunes and nursery like choruses, only for me to be smitten like a puppy with their innocence and naivete. Normally, I would take them aside, tell them a few tales from my past and shatter their illusion, but the future must remain a mystery for them, a bit like Santa Claus, Australia and other mythological things.

Colton Davy and Zara Henry are from Independence, Kansas, where they met at age 12 during a 4H gathering, whatever that is. Possibly it's like the Young Farmers Club, but with bison. In one of those life is stranger than fiction moments, they were discovered online by Brandi Cyrus, elder sister of pop star Miley Cyrus, who was looking for new talent to showcase at the 2008 Band With a Mission contest in Nashville. Head organiser Austin Cook liked their blend of acoustic folk and before you could say Jackanory, their first EP, "Whimsical Dreams", was recorded and released in 2009.

This is their debut full length album and it's chock full of summer days, rainbows, hopefulness and an array of things I thought were dead in my heart. They aim to "spread a message to inspire audiences to find personal happiness, love, and joy". See! Rainbows. They have songs about bees, cupcakes, tea cups and librarians. They are beautiful. I'm away for a greet, noo.
- Zeitgeist


There is a lot of excitment around Colton and Zara – a new EP “Whimsical Dreams” out, a contagious spirit of glorifying God through music and a great talent for producing an awesome sound.

IRM: We love your music here in the office. It has mega-hooks and comes out as folky, but enriched heavily with some great contemporary bloodlines. I am thinking Cranberries, Jewel, and others.

Colton & Zara spend a great deal of time on the road, and because of this, there are folks waiting for them when they get to a performance venue. Their EP was heavily pre-ordered by expectant fans and when you hear them, you can tell why.

“Halls” speaks to your heart – there is a message, gently delivered, there for everyone.

- Internet Radio Magazine

"Duo Finds Warm Reception"

Their music is mystically buoyant, their message joyfully optimistic. Though aiming to romanticize life's simplicity, their style is unusually complex.

Whimsical indie folk duo Colton and Zara hail from Independence, but have been building a Wichita fan base for more than a year. In the process, they've grown as musicians. They'll perform tonight at Frida's.

"We've been a lot of places, but Wichita has been one of the most receptive to our music," said Colton Davy. "We've piled up a lot of fans for the amount of shows we've played."

Davy met his musical companion, Zara Henry, at the age of 12 during a 4H gathering. The two soon formed a band and began playing to youth group audiences. Within a few years, the band had fizzled out, but their collaboration continued. They were discovered online by Brandi Cyrus, elder sister of pop princess Miley Cyrus, who was looking for new talent to showcase at the 2008 Band With a Mission contest in Nashville, Tenn.

"It was extremely awkward being on stage for the first time," Henry said. "There were so many big bands and all we had were two guitars. We were like two little Davids in a sea of Goliaths."

It was their style, though, not their stage presence that caught the attention of show organizer Austin Cook. He liked their blend of acoustic folk with indie style as well as their soothing, hopeful message. A development deal was soon presented to them, and their first EP, "Whimsical Dreams," was recorded and released last spring.

"Whimsical" is a six-track collection of their lighthearted melodies. The lyrics dance playfully, prompting listeners to imagine simple, sunny days surrounded by loved ones on grassy fields. They speak of young love, about basing reality on idealism, and holding true to personal values. Throughout all of their songs is a budding spirit of harmony.

With their first work completed, Colton and Zara are aiming to grow as musicians. Since last August, they have been on a touring frenzy. They've played more than 100 shows, with several stops along the West Coast and throughout the South.

"I think audiences have responded very well to our music because they bring their own experiences to the songs we play," Davy said.

Added Henry: "I've had fans tell me that our music is what they want to hear on their worst days to cheer them up and during their best moments to make them even brighter."

With a growing fan base, the two are taking on the project of producing a full-length CD. They've signed on with local music label Hartke Records to produce an album that will be released late this spring.

"We're very much in the process of diversifying our sound," Davy said.

The duo plans to record with a full band and play up the folk element to their style. "This will definitely be a more mature sound than 'Whimsical Dreams,' " Davy said. - Wichita Eagle

"Colton and Zara"

Sometimes a whisper of a song will cut to your core. It’s not so much about the talent, or a “melt your face off” show. Its the kind of song that doesn’t demand your attention but rather seems to quietly wait for you to notice. Upon noticing, it becomes the loudest of all songs due to its inescapable message. When I came across “Realities” by Colton and Zara (an acoustic duo based out of Independence KS who is currently signed by Indevo Records out of Nashville), I felt relief from indifference; a dangerous state of mind that leaves a person drained, passionless and going through the motions. But, once I felt understood and encouraged, thanks to this wonderful song I kept on “repeat” for about an hour, I was able to escape that state of mind. Very few songs have the power to do this especially in a style that is easy to listen to.

Colton and Zara’s style seems influenced by many including three of my favorites: Eisley, Iorn and Wine, and John Mayer. Colton and Zara grasp a whimsical lyrical style in some songs (using friendship code words and phrases that spark certain memories among Zara and her best friends). Simple melodies, bring to life sing-a-long harmonies which wrap up the reason and message for their music, Love and purity. They sing about deep things in comforting and light-hearted ways. Beauty, friends, passion, justice, and integrity are just some of the subjects that influence them.

Colton and zara were home-schooled, met at a young age in 4H, then later played in a band for their youth group. A band with a story like many others, they were on the verge of getting signed then broke up. After that devastating point, Colton and Zara decided to hit the road themselves. Austin Cook (The head of BWAM) took notice of their unique style, offered a development deal and Colton and Zara headed to Nashville in February to record their first EP at Studio One studios in Franklin TN. However, before the EP was to be released they were signed with Indevo Records!

Colton and Zara play in wichita often at places such as The Riverside Perk, Frida’s Mexican Grill, and Meads Corner. For more information on Colton and Zara check out - Naked City Magazine


Stars Would Fall (Single Release) 8/22/2014

Making Sound (Debut Single Release) 6/2014

I Live Hopefully (Holiday Single) 12/2013
You are Love (Single) 07/2013
More Than I Could Ask For (LP) 03/2012
My Favorite Day (LP) 07 / 2010
Whimsical Dreams (EP) 07 / 2009

Airplay on several internet stations as well as the following celestial stations: CROSSROADS RADIO, CFJU, CKOS, CKCU, KCLC, SOLID ROCK RADIO, THE CHRISTIAN ROCK 20, THE X MUSIC NETWORK, WAUF, WRXV, WSNL, WVOF, WYSZ, WUAC

DLC Radio
Daily Unsigned Radio

Project Aha Radio



Murmuration began in 2014 when The Colton and Zara Band decided to expand in number of members and in color of music. "Our name wasn't matching the skill of the other numerous members or the music we were heading towards with the expansion, so we thought it was time to find a unifying name for the sound we were becoming," says Colton and Zara. A Murmuration is a flock of starlings.Their roots are originally out of Independence, Kansas, though the members flocked from other regions of the country. 

Ranging in ages 16-24, the former band has released 3 albums and singles, "You Are Love"  and "Making Sound" that are currently airing on several radio stations nationwide and world-wide, along with Daily Unsigned Radio, Pandora, Spotify, iTunes, and Rdio.

Murmuration is adventurous in nature and style, spreading music worldwide that's fun and upbeat, yet also purposeful and encouraging in the lives of all ages. They've opened for bands such as Sanctus Real, We Are Leo, After Edmund, Par~a~digm Rock Band, and DaMac. Zara also added vocals onto the hip-hop album, "Man Up 116" song, "Envy", featuring Lecrae, Tedashii, KB, PRo, Trip Lee, and Andy Mineo. Their cover video of "Don't You Worry Child" was recently accepted into the Global Citizen Festival. They also recently won Daily Unsigned Radio's Project Aha competition, showcased for Belk Clothing Industry's "Modern Southern Music" competition, and were interviewed by PopVltr, That Music Mag, and Musician's Friend. They also played for Lifeway's Centrikid camp last summer. Their adventurous tour experiences cover a West Coast Tour, Nashville Tour, The Extreme Tour, and a Midwest Tour, performing more than 100 to 200 shows yearly in festivals, venues, and conferences. 

Currently, Murmuration just released their second single, haunting, bright, and indie-style, "Stars Would Fall", are touring the midwest, and are recording a full-length album, with more songs to release in the upcoming months. 

Band Members