Ellery Sablan presents heartwarming nostalgia through original music

The pop artist will blend themes of the past, present and future in her senior showcase.

Natalia Henderson, Freelance Writer

Hailing from Guam, senior commercial music major Ellery Sablan brings a relaxing yet profound aura to her music. Set to graduate this semester, she has a bright future in composition and music art on her horizon. 

This past summer, she performed in an international music competition and also released EP “Backwards California,” which is a collection of reflective piano jazz, filled with memories and nostalgia. Not to mention, Sablan opened for acclaimed R&B artist Brian McKnight this past August at his show in Guam.


Blending the old and the new, Sablan sings about her memories, but she also sings in anticipation for the bright and unknown future ahead. Sablan’s works depict the mixture of apprehension and excitement that come with growing up, or as one would call “adulting.” While holding her past close to her heart, she embraces the hope of the future. In her most recent EP, Sablan honestly shares about anxiety, depression and her experience in California. In “Birdie Bye Bye,” she addresses her struggle with depression over a groovy drumbeat and acoustic guitar plucking.

“My vision’s always cloudy and overcast, even on a bright and sunny day,” Sablan sings in the song’s first verse. 

Opening with ukulele chords before breaking off into an upbeat chorus, she reveals her journey of overcoming anxiety in “Breaking the Cycle,” admitting she yearns to “chase the glimmer of life.” 

“I’m breaking the cycle, I know that it’s time,” Sablan sings in the chorus. “Running at top speed and grasping at life. I’m going to get there, going to make it, and I know for sure that I was meant for something greater. I was meant for something more.” 

She believes it is important to reflect on the past, be fully invested in the present and be excited for the future. Through her recital, she hopes to join this musical bond between past, present and future.


On Sunday, Dec. 15, Sablan will hold her senior recital, which she considers the “story of her life,” at the Conservatory, where she will perform a wide variety of music from the ‘70s to today and original compositions she has composed this year.

“I want them to appreciate older contemporary songs, to appreciate the past, but also to feel a sense of moving forward, to be excited for what’s coming next,” Sablan said.” ‘Cause that’s kind of what I’m feeling. I appreciate everything that has taken me up to this point, but I’m really excited to see what lies ahead.” 

In the first half of the program, she will be performing older tunes by Queen, Elton John, Billy Joel and Amy Winehouse, selecting these pieces because she grew up listening to these artists. Sablan seeks to reflect on where she has been, with the fondest memories.

During the second half of the program, Sablan will perform five originals she composed during her time at Biola, including “Time Capsule Island” and “Goodbye Summer Camp,” which she will perform for the first time at her recital. 

“There’s kind of like a running theme of nostalgia and overcoming in them,” Sablan said. 


As an international student, Sablan has had plenty of experience with change, heartbreak and triumph, and she hopes to convey this message to her listeners. 

“I feel like I’ve known her forever. She’s just such a genuinely kind, easy-going person. And I’ve loved being her teacher because she’s got such a natural gift,” said Emily Benford, a professional voice studio artist. 

Because Sablan brings such beauty and talent to every project she undertakes, she hopes her recital will be a joy to hearers, as well as an edifying experience. Listeners who can’t get enough of Sablan’s music after her recital can excitedly await her debut album, which she hopes to release before the end of the year.

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