BRUNI Biography


The Gallery

Lithograph Series

Ordering Info

Press Releases





Kristina Sablan:

‘The song has a life of its own’


Painting by BRUNI Sablan www.BruniJazzArt.com

For the Daily News

San Jose’s Kristina Sablan lifts the spirits of not only all who hear her lovely music, but also of her fellow singer-songwriters.
Sablan and husband Darren Anderson created Firesign Entertainment, which books musicians — blues, soul, rock and jazz, in addition to acoustic singer-songwriters — into many Bay Area locales, including Santana Row, each weekend.
They will be at Redwood City’s Little Fox for Thursday evening’s Hit Songwriters in the Round. Joining Sablan and Anderson will be Steve Krause and Travis Hogue. In addition to original compositions, each will perform a cover penned by a songwriter who inspired them.
"We’ve always wanted to start doing a showcase to promote talented songwriters who need the spotlight on them. The Little Fox is such a beautiful listening venue, where people come in, sit down, be quiet and actually listen to the performers on stage.
"It doesn’t have to be just loud rock bands or things you can dance to. People who can actually write songs that come from the heart deserve more attention. Most clubs just want stuff to have people dancing or background music. It’s sparse for singer-songwriters, so we’re trying to get that moving forward."
She and her husband are establishing the Firesign recording company, having just released Sablan’s own moving CD, "My Prayer."
"I wanted it to have a spiritual sense, reflective of something beyond this everyday world," she said of the CD.
Getting a fledgling company to blossom is a challenge.
"When you do it out of joy, out of something you love to do, it may be difficult, but you also get great satisfaction from it."
The satisfactions of art were imbued in Sablan from birth. Born in Guam, she moved with her family to Hollywood at 3, then back to her mother’s hometown, San Jose, at age 8.
Her father was a musician/singer/songwriter in Guam. Her grandmother, a classical pianist, taught her piano. Sablan’s mother, a painter, owns Bruni Gallery in Campbell.
Sablan, who sculpts, said of her mother Bruni, "She’s been a big influence on me to pursue my dream. She was always very encouraging, very supportive."
She knows how fortunate she is to have that foundation. "A lot of friends had dreams of being musicians or artists, but they didn’t have the support of their families. Eventually, their parents would say to them, ‘You’ve got to go into the real world.’ And I see that these friends are marred by it, very conflicted."
As a child, Sablan’s mother took her to Paul Masson Winery (now the Mountain Winery), and toYoshi’s in Oakland, where she heard and met such greats as Abbey Lincoln, Diane Schuur, Carlos Santana and Miles Davis. From observing, Sablan learned the finer points of music.
By 14, Sablan was experimenting with songwriting. "In the beginning, I thought I had to go by the book, by how they tell you to write a song. I used to get frustrated by all the rules."
After graduating from Cupertino High School, Sablan (who now teaches singing) studied at San Francisco’s John Ford School of Voice.
Sablan picked up the guitar in her mid-20s and encountered innumerable performers at open mics and cafes around the South Bay.
"They weren’t doing it for money, necessarily. They’re doing it because they wrote a song, worked on it, believed in it and wanted to share it with people.
"The most important thing I learned was to be free with what I did musically and not think of it in commercial terms. Only then was the songwriting rewarding. The song has a life of its own."
Alife in music requires dedication. "You can break through with your art, if you focus 100 percent on it. We all have to pay bills, but if you commit to it fully, it can be what you want it to be.
"It doesn’t have to be just a dream. You don’t just say, ‘Well, I’ll try it for five years and then stop, if I don’t make it.’ That’s silly. Musicians have to be very passionate people, very hardworking. They go wherever the gig might take them."
Sablan helps distinctive talents find gigs. "Every song on the radio sounds like the same singer. There used to be more interest in individuality.
"Someday maybe there will be a surge of what there was in the ’60s and ’70s, when artists were put into the spotlight because they were unique and great and not just all the same. I hope for that to come back."

E-mail Paul Freeman at

Return to Home Page


BRUNI Gallery
1171 Lincoln Ave.

San Jose, CA 95125
(408) 298-4700

Fax (408) 298-7903