Bernarda Bruno is a singer -songwriter with a colorful voice of a large vocal range, who moves and touches people with her songs and her expressive and inspiring interpretation. She was born in Zagreb, grew up in Switzerland and had the most appearances in Switzerland, but also in Croatia and Germany. She achieved wide popularity when she won the second place at Switzerland national finals for the Eurovision Song Contest 2011. Her song “Confidence” had previously entered the narrow circle of the twelve candidates selected from three hundred applicants. As a participant of the Zurich Marathon, fearless skier and swimmer, accompanied by visual impairment since her birth, Bernarda Bruno sent a strong message to the world with her song “Confidence”. It is about going through life without fear because of her trust in God. The critics expressed best opinions about her music and interpretation. Since then broad prospects has been opened for Bernarda. But, at that time Bernarda was only seventeen years old and her priority was to finish grammar school.
Today, she is a student of theology who along with her studies continues her musical career, which began in her childhood when she started piano and singing lessons with constant solo performances, as well as various musical group peformances. In the interview I conducted with Bernarda in November 2014 she said:
Bernarda Bruno: “I’m not in a particular group or choir any more, now I perform on lots of different occasions with lots of different people. But I still sing in church as much as before.”
This year she performed in Croatia at the Dalmatian chanson festival in Šibenik with the song “Olujna noć” (“Stormy Night”) winning three Šibenik Festival Awards. Known by the name Bernarda Brunović, she performed under ther name Bernarda Bruno for the first time.
I asked Bernarda why she decided to sing a song of another genre as well as not her own, which represents something new in her career.
Bernarda Bruno: “It had been more of a spontaneous decision to go to the festival of Šibenik since I consider every opportunity offered for me a great chance for at least one further step in my career. I also said yes to the song, because I trusted my current producer Dusko Rapotec-Ute that this would be suitable for such an event, since he’s way more experienced in this particular field than I…I mean, he knows what’s good on such an event, what kind of audience is there. This was something completely new for me, I must say, it was a great experience performing there, thanks to the fantastic audience, orchestra, and my team that had helped me prepare myself for such great days. And about the song. Among the few of the songs he had sent me to choose from, I liked Olujna Noc best. Yes, I must honestly say that I had to learn to like the song, since it was not “my own”, and since at first, I couldn’t really relate to the lyrics, because I’ve never experienced a situation like this as the lyrics tell it, and there were really times when I felt like just giving up. And I’ve learned, that obviously I also have talent with this kind of music too, wich pleases me very much, I’m still the one same person trying to be knowledgeable and experienced in “a bit of almost everything”.”
Jasna Lovrinčević: “Do you want to continue your career in that direction?”
Bernarda Bruno: “I will never give up Gospel, but I’m also ready to have a «commercial» career. There are lots of great songs out there that talk of different experiences in people’s lives and one that listens more carefully could even find a deeply Christian message in them. I have lots and lots of influences in lots of different musical genres and they have all in a lesser or greater degree contributed to the formation of my musical talent, life and spirituality. Either way, I wish to be someone that gives something good to the people – that brings God to them, and God can manifest Himself in infinite and infinite numbers of ways. And I believe it would be ungrateful to keep the Good News of the love of God just to ourselves Christians and not pass it on to the whole world as Jesus said. «Go and preach to all nations.» That doesn’t mean that we should be forcing people to believe and scaring them with hell-fire if they don’t believe. Not everyone accepts God in the same way, not everyone has the same view on faith. We’re all different, with different strenghts and weaknesses, but all equally dear to God and He wants all people to be saved. As I said, not all things are bad in secular music.”
Now Bernarda is working on her new album. About song selection she said:
Bernarda Bruno: “The album I’m currently working on, together with my current producer will be promoted in Croatia and internationally. We’ve agreed that some of his songs will be on it, and some of mine. I’ll write the lyrics in English while my producer and his team will take care of the lyrics in Croatian.”
Asked about her future and career aspirations, Bernarda Bruno answered:
Bernarda Bruno: “At the moment there are lots of opportunities I’ve been offered, now we’re still planning what will definitely happen and what not. One thing however is sure, I’ll try for Eurovision again and in these days we will decide which song I will try with. (I recorded two of them, so in the next few days I will know more). And generally? Well, I’ll continue with my career, composing and writing, recording and performing, and I hope I’ll be successful in all my projects. (I think it’s best to keep you informed project by project), at the moment we’re really living from today to tomorrow.”
It is interesting that Bernarda Bruno made a «one-year-break» after she had finished grammar school.
Bernarda Bruno: “In fact, God has sent me a real big blessing throughout the «one-year-break» I took when I finished high school last year – a year full of experiences, revelations, songs, thoughts…that still continues today, that has become another essential part of my career, my spiritual journey, my everyday life…”
Jasna Lovrinčević: “Why have you choosen theology as your study subject and what do you expect from it?”
Bernarda Bruno: “First of all. I love the subject itself. Theology keeps me focused on faith, and God helps me to «stay on the ground», and He reminds me that my mission is to go out and do something good for the people.”
Bernarda Bruno has written and has composed her songs since her childhood. She had created about two hunderd songs already before her first appearance at Eurovision Song Contest 2010. About her new music and her inspiration she said:
Bernarda Bruno: “By now I’ve grown to love not only Gospel but also pop, soul, country, funk, jazz, rock, blues, disco…and lots more. Yeah that’s me, keeping myself open to receive inspirations and at the same time looking for inspiration wherever and whenever I can, at any time, in any circumstane, in every experience…using all that I have and all that I am. The primary inspiration comes from God, but He gives it to me in infinitely many forms, shapes, sizes, colors, sounds…my everyday life is one with my spiritual life, so inspirations can be literally everything and everywhere everytime.”