Humans of North Texas: Ezra and Cozi Vancil
Humans of North Texas explores the unique stories of the people around us.
A pond full of barracudas, a carefree flounder, and a river flowing toward freedom: the dreamland birthplace of talented musical pair Cozi anda Flounder, made up of Ezra and Cozi Vancil.
Ezra and his 14-year-old daughter, Cozi, have a connection, a sound, and a feel unlike any other. Creating music in a genre they define as cosmic country, this father-daughter duo from Dallas is taking the music scene by storm.
Inspired by the likes of Bob Dylan and John Denver, Cozi anda Flounder seeks to create a unique, Americana-esque sound. Photos courtesy of Ezra Vancil
In December, the duo released their first EP, “The Place.” While Ezra and Cozi had collaborated on individual songs before, this was their first full-length project together. Since the pandemic forced most professional recording studios to close temporarily, the majority of “The Place” was recorded in a pop-up studio assembled in a cabin in the woods, a detail fitting for a pair whose sound critics describe as “enchanting,” “authentic,” and “ethereal.”
Two years ago, Ezra and Cozi released “Parables,” their first official song together. Photos courtesy of Ezra Vancil.
Although they are related, Ezra and Cozi see each other as more than family when it comes to music; they see each other as peers. Their professional relationship is built around respect, passion, and a love for music.
“We can do all the things a band needs to do, and we don’t do it so much as a father and a daughter, we do it as musicians,” Ezra said. “It just kind of came naturally from the beginning, and I think it’s really helped us.”
The pair are currently working on writing, recording, and producing their next project and will be performing live in March at SoberStock 2022 in Tampa, Florida.
“I’ve written songs and done music my whole life, and sometimes it feels like work, but when I sit down with her it’s almost like we just have fun, talk, and walk away with a song,” Ezra said. “It’s such an enjoyable time.”
After leaving the music scene for a steady job in art/design, Ezra struggled for many years with depression. He says his return to music brought joy back into his life and allowed him to become the person he is today. Photos courtesy of Ezra Vancil.
Ezra signed on to a professional record deal as a teenager and lived life in his twenties as a traveling musician, recording, touring, and playing his heart out until it was time to step away. For a number of years following, life was dark. Eventually, though, Ezra found his way back to the stage where he belongs. “I’ve had some good things happen, and some things that were difficult, but somehow I just kept making music all these years.” Ezra said. “It’s been a long haul.”
While finding a balance between music, school, and simply being a normal teenager is becoming more difficult, Cozi says it’s nothing she can’t handle. Photos courtesy of Ezra Vancil.
Ezra’s daughter, Cozi, began playing instruments on stage at the age of 5 and started writing songs a few years later. As she grew older, Cozi became more and more involved with her father’s music, and eventually they decided it was time to officially team up. However, despite the strength of Cozi’s bond with her father, both parties acknowledge her “special something” and possible solo career when discussing the future of Cozi anda Flounder.
“I would love for this to go for a long time, even if it’s not super often later on,” Cozi said. “Even if I start doing my own music, I would love for this to keep on going so we can always make music together.”
Both Ezra and Cozi use their music as a way to express emotions they otherwise couldn’t and work through issues they may be having trouble talking about. They believe writing and performing what you love is good for both the artist and the fans; a message they want to spread to aspiring musicians.
“Go with your heart,” Ezra said. “Go with what brings joy to your life and makes you happy when you’re playing, and other people will realize that and enjoy it too.”
“Don’t compare yourself to other musicians, only you can do what you do,” Cozi added. “Just go for it.”