We had the good fortune of connecting with Ellery Sablan and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Ellery, where are your from? We’d love to hear about how your background has played a role in who you are today?
Being from Guam has taught me to celebrate the small things (since a lot of what’s in the mainland, we don’t have in Guam…like Target or Starbucks) and strive towards the great things. The Chamorro (the ethnicity of people from Guam and the Mariana Islands) culture has impacted me in such a way that I treat everyone I come across with respect and want to make people feel welcome, and I feel especially led to do so with my music. Although I’m predominantly Chamorro, I’m a person of mixed race and because of that, I felt like I never fit in with the other kids at school, or even with my own siblings at times. But as I grew older, I have learned to embrace the many facets of my heritage and have taken this as an opportunity to to form my own culture. I’m extremely proud of where I’m from and even though I’m far away from the island, I always will carry a piece of it with me and will continue to share that with everyone.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
My music has undergone a lot changes in my journey as a musician. I began writing music as a hobby when I was 12 years old, and much of that was inspired by songs I would hear on TV shows like Adventure Time and Steven Universe. I didn’t officially start songwriting until my first year of college, where I started writing songs about my experience with anxiety and depression as well as the transition of leaving Guam and coming to California. The experiences I’ve had in order to create a lot of those songs were extremely difficult to overcome— I was in California alone, with my family 5000 miles away from me, focusing on my studies and figuring out what was the next step for me and my career while also dealing with the comings and goings of different relationships. Ultimately, even in light of those hardships, my music has developed into a mix of pop, R&B, and jazz with the spirit of Guam at its core and treads the line between happy and sad. My songs have opened many doors for me, like the opportunity of becoming an opening act for Grammy-nominated R&B singer Brian McKnight and becoming contracted to write and sing songs for the app KineMaster’s music library. It’s my wish for my music to reflect my culture, the experience of being a multiethnic woman, and the perspective of someone who deals with mental illness.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I am a major foodie– for me, food isn’t just sustenance but an entire experience. Some of my favorite things to do are to bring my friends to interesting coffee shops or restaurants with food they’ve never tried. I would definitely bring a friend to Stereoscope in Buena Park since they have some of the best coffee and tea, in my humble opinion. I would also bring them to OliBoli Donuts in Tustin where they have specialty donuts with a wide range of unique flavors. Of course, live music is something that I’ve really missed experiencing, especially in the midst of the pandemic. Every Thursday night in Compton, there’s an event called Apiary where different bands and artists perform with several pop-up shops and food vendors nearby. Each week comes with a different theme and the music keeps going until midnight.
Lastly, I would say that I find peace going to the aquarium. The Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach is one of my favorite places in California. It’s almost like I’m going there for the first time with every visit because of the diverse exhibits and creatures they have.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I would love to thank my family, both biological and chosen. My dad especially has played such a huge part in my becoming a musician, and he and my mom have wholeheartedly supported the decisions that have led me to where I am today, even when those decisions came with huge risks. My siblings, Hailey, Talia, Gia, and Raif, have also encouraged me to keep going and push me to work harder and try new things. Lastly, I want to thank my brother Josh for being there for me when I felt like giving up and opening new doors for me when I felt stuck. I love you guys and words will never express how thankful I am for all of you.
Sara Mislang (for first picture only)