Just 19 years old, singer/songwriter Stephen Sanchez has quickly emerged as a talented artist to watch. He has a very soulful, expressive voice, and he writes and performs songs that are in a classic pop & rock style. He is currently breaking through with his single, “Until I Found You,” which is becoming a hit on both the pop and rock charts. He’s also signed with Mercury Records/Republic Records, and he recently released his EP, Easy On My Eyes.
In this current era, where other young artists are performing hip-hop, EDM and country, Sanchez is following his own path. He is writing and playing songs that are influenced by the classic ‘50s & ‘60s pop/rock music that he grew up listening to. He’s been inspired by such legendary artists as Roy Orbison, the Platters and Elvis Presley, and he mostly sings about romantic love and relationships.
Although Sanchez’s musical genre is more classic, he creates his own unique style by writing original, thoughtful songs that are based on his own contemporary experiences. And with his powerful vocals that have a wide range, he can convincingly convey his emotions and feelings.
His new EP, Easy On My Eyes, contains seven songs including his hit, “Until I Found You.” Other highlights are the uptempo, rollicking “See The Light,” and the heartfelt ballads “Because Of You” and “Please Don’t Go Home Yet.” Impressively, Sanchez wrote most of these songs by himself. The EP was expertly produced by Ian Fitchuk (known for his work with Kacey Musgraves), Konrad Snyder, Jamie Hartman and Jon Green.
Sanchez grew up in Sacramento, CA, where he was introduced to ‘50s & ‘60s records by his grandfather. He would explore his grandfather’s extensive vinyl collection, and he fell in love with music from this era. Then as a teenager, Sanchez developed his singing voice, and he learned to play guitar and piano.
When he was 17, Sanchez wrote & posted online his song, “Lady By The Sea,” which caught the attention of music execs and record labels. By the time he turned 18, he had signed a label deal with Mercury Records/Republic Records. Soon after, he released his first EP, What Was, Not Now, and he moved to Nashville.
Here’s the video of Stephen Sanchez’s hit, “Until I Found You.”
Then in September 2021, Sanchez released his single “Until I Found You,” which slowly began its rise on the charts. During the past few months, this single has charted in many countries, and is currently moving up the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Also, “Until I Found You” has reached the Top 10 on Billboard’s Hot Rock & Alternative Songs chart.
We are pleased to do this new Q&A interview with Stephen Sanchez. He talks about the music that has inspired him, and how he wrote “Until I Found You.” He also discusses the making of his new EP.
DK: I read that you grew up near Sacramento (CA). How did you get started with music?
Stephen Sanchez: One of my grandfathers lived up in Oregon, and we’d drive to see him about two times a year. He would whip out his guitar and start playing for us, and sing songs. And I grew up in the church, so I was surrounded by a lot of gospel music, and I got to watch how deeply music can embed itself in people’s lives. It could impact them on an emotional scale and physical scale. It really inspired me as I was growing up.
My other grandfather had this lot of land in San Jose (CA), and his house sat between two barns on his property. In one of the barns, he had thousands of boxes of vinyl records, and he used to send me out and have me pick through the vinyl. He had been collecting this vinyl for years, because back in the day when [DJs] were done playing records on the radio, they would throw them out. So my grandfather would grab them from these old radio stations and collect them. And so I would grab all this vinyl—from Elvis Presley to Frank Sinatra to Nat King Cole, to the Platters and Ink Spots, and all these double LPs and test prints.
Then my freshman year of high school happened, and girls happened, and that’s when songwriting happened for me, because it was the only way I could convey a feeling to a girl.
Here’s the lyric video of Stephen Sanchez’s song, “See The Light.”
DK: Who were some of your favorite artists that inspired you?
Sanchez: Roy Orbison and Elvis were the big two for me—more Roy Orbison on the singing side, with his high voice and his falsetto. As well as the Platters—they had these songs about love that were so special, that became so tangible for me. Then of course, Elvis. It was about his singing, of course, but also the way he moved. And I think all those things combined—the Platters and their style of songwriting and what they were singing about, Roy Orbison with his voice and the way he was singing about it, and Elvis and the way he moved. All those things helped me to formulate the artist that I am today.
DK: I read that when you were growing up, you liked to write songs in your bedroom. Was that true, and do you still write songs in your bedroom?
Sanchez: Yes, I used to write in my bedroon, but now I usually write them in my living room. I think it’s because I lived with my parents at the time (laughs), so I didn’t have a free space of my own. So my bedroom was the place that was isolated and vulnerable. It was like an intimate place where I sleep and exist…where my life is.
I now live on my own in Nashville, and I utilize the entire space because it’s all mine (laughs). And I write a lot in the car now, while I’m driving. Which is not safe, but it’s still good (laughs).
DK: Do you write songs on both guitar and piano?
Sanchez: Yeah I do. I write on anything that I can get my hands on (laughs).
DK: A year ago, you released your first EP, What Was, Not Now. Can you talk about your first EP, and signing your label deal?
Here’s the lyric video of Stephen Sanchez’s song, “Because
Sanchez: We did the first EP after signing with Republic Records. There was a lot of interest in a song I had, “Lady By The Sea.” That song went viral, and then my prior manager wanted to connect. He flew me out to New York, and we recorded the song and it was produced Jeremy Zucker, who’s an amazing pop artist. He produced it, and before it was released, we sent it to every label known to man, and we had meetings for months with these different labels. Then we ended up signing with Republic Records in August. (2021). The next month, I worked on the record and it was released in October. And since that time, it’s been a great journey. Then “Until I Found You” came after that, and my new EP, Easy On My Eyes, came out last month. It’s been great.
DK: Congratulations on your hit, “Until I Found You.” How did you write that song?
Sanchez: I was seeing a girl the summer of last year. Shortly after I signed my record deal, Georgia (Brown), who the song is about, we were trying to date and I was resistant towards it, as much as I liked her. Because at the time, my family situation was very complicated and unhealthy. And I felt scared bringing her into that, because she lived in another state (Virginia), and I was living in California at the time. So I pushed her away and we spent some time away. Then we reconnected before I moved to Nashville. I drove up there and I took her out on a date and the rest is history. And it was last summer (2021) that I wrote her the song. It was nodding back to the time when we were trying to be together and we weren’t.
The song and meaning (of “Until I Found You”) speaks for itself. She’s an extremely important person to me, and has been in my life. So that song is hers, and she sang on it too, which adds more sentiment to it.
DK: Recently you put out your new EP, Easy On My Eyes. Can you talk your new EP and writing the songs for it?
Sanchez: I got really sick after my girlfriend and I had broken up in October of last year, and I couldn’t sing at all. I fell into a deep depression for quite some time. So I stopped writing for a while, and it gave me a lot of time to reflect on what I wanted to say. I was having a hard time…I kept writing the same thing over and over again. Then with “Until I Found You” being out and having to advertise that in the middle of being sick, after we had broken up, it was terrible. So I was feeling a lot of emotions. And then once my voice came back, I went through medical stuff to get it back to where it is.
Here’s the lyric video of Stephen Sanchez’s song, “Please Don’t
Go Home Yet.”
I wrote most of the songs for the EP, and I went into two writing sessions where I wrote the other songs. So I had all the material written and it became this cohesive thing. Then I jumped into the studio for a week and I recorded all the songs, had them all mixed, and then I wrote another one and we quickly threw it on there. It was this very quick turnaround. It felt like the emotions were happening so fast, and this record was recorded and done so fast, that I’m still processing the whole thing. But these songs are some of the most important that I’ve written and they mean a lot to me.
DK: I like your song,”See The Light.” What inspired you to write this song?
Sanchez: That was the first song I wrote when I started getting my voice back. I went a bit sideways after my ex and I broke up, and started entertaining very shallow situations with people that did not care about me. I think I wanted to write a song for other people who have been in a situation where they’re trying to build a real connection with somebody, but are also trying not to fall in love again in a way. Then they accidentally fall in love after trying to deny it. They end up realizing, “Oh, maybe this isn’t a shallow thing and I actually really like this person, and want to have something real with them.” So that’s what “See The Light” is about. It’s about feeling elevated by being with somebody, and you feel like your best self when you’re with somebody who’s great.
DK: Besides the songs we’ve discussed, what are your favorite songs on your new EP?
Sanchez: Two favorites would have to be “Because of You” and “Please Don’t Go Home Yet.” And I was emotionally recording every song (laughs), which is great. That’s what you want. I think it was cool this time around. I thought with these new ones, [they were written in] just a month, and I was fresh with those emotions. So it was a breeze the way I was feeling, and getting those feelings out in those songs.
With “Because of You,” it was about my friend, Blair, who’s a very dear friend of mine. She’s someone I care about so much and love, so it was easy to get that out, and it’s become a favorite song of mine, along with “Please Don’t Go Home Yet.”