Stage fright gripped eight-year-old Cynthia Murray as she was about to start singing at her grade school talent show.
She nearly walked off stage, but she felt bolstered by the feeling of euphoria once the crowd cheered and applauded — a feeling that has stuck with her.
“I still get stage fright before every show, but I love performing live more than almost anything,” she says.
The Boonville, Indiana, native learned to sing by memorizing the lyrics of popular songs by Celine Dion, Mariah Carey, and Whitney Houston that she heard on the radio. Her mother started her in vocal lessons, and she entered talent shows in middle and high school, when she also tried her hand at songwriting. She plays the tambourine, piano, tenor ukulele, and acoustic guitar.
“I didn’t realize it was not something everyone could do,” she says.
At age 27, Murray co-founded the rock band Osiella with Theo Akai, who already was known for his own band, Blended Society. They met on the street in Evansville, went back to a studio to jam, and released music within a month. Osiella broke up after three years but occasionally reunites for shows.
Murray then set out to establish herself as a solo performer. With the help of friends in the Tri-State music scene, including Stephen Horning, a prominent musician and producer with Big Ninja Delight and The Dojo Recording, in 2021 Cynthia Murray and The End Times was formed. Murray says fans connect with her willingness to be open about her life and struggles.
The post-pop rock and Americana band performs covers and original songs that Murray writes. Among her musical influences is singer and guitarist Susan Tedeschi, and a dream is to one day perform at Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, Tennessee, and Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Denver, Colorado.
“It’s been a wild ride. You have to be a completely different person to want to do this for a living,” she says. “I’m fortunate to be in the place I am in now.”
Ones to Watch
Here are three local musical talents Cynthia Murray has her eye on.
Lauri Andrick (performs as Loralye)
“I see a lot of my younger self in her. She has a voice that is like water, a beautiful artist in every sense of the word,” Murray says of the bedroom pop performer.
Hannah Jones (performs as Hannah Evelyn)
Murray admires this indie rock-Americana singer-songwriter. “She’s got a lot of tenacity. I hope one day to be able to present myself on stage the way she does,” Murray says.
The one-man bluesy rock outfit seemingly can do it all onstage. “Every time I see him, I’m amazed at what he is capable of,” Murray says. “I could never do everything he does onstage. He has a gift.”