Stephen Sanchez has materialized at the forefront of popular culture with a sound that’s as timeless as it is necessary for the times. It’s easy to sway into the embrace of his breezy baritone stylings, warm guitar phrasing, and untouchable charisma. His music is also an eternal bright spot illuminated by a belief that the kind of romance and love we used to see on the silver screen is still possible.
Barely in his twenties, the singer, songwriter, guitarist, and producer has already enchanted audiences everywhere. His breakout single “Until I Found You” went multi platinum, vaulted into the Top 25 of the Billboard Hot 100, and generated nearly 2 billion streams powered by the original, piano version, and duet with gold-certified pop singer and songwriter Em Beihold. He delivered much talked-about performances on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Late Night with Seth Meyers, and The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. Meanwhile, he also sold out successive headline tours and earned acclaim from Billboard, Consequence, and more. He was even invited by Sir Elton John to perform “Until I Found You” at Elton’s last show ever headlining Glastonbury.
Now, he spins a story unlike anything you’ve ever heard (or seen) before on his 2023 full-length debut, Angel Face [Mercury Records/Republic Records]. The record tells the tale of “The Troubadour Sanchez” a fictional musician who blew up in 1958
after his debut performance of “Until I Found You” on The Connie Co Show. He immediately lit up popular culture, but was tragically gunned down in 1964 after stealing the heart of a mob boss’s girlfriend. Her name was Evangeline. However, his long lost debut has been unearthed 59 years later in the form of Angel Face.
“When you hear Angel Face, I want you to know that these songs were written for you to soundtrack the moments of great love and great heart ache within your lives,” exclaims Sanchez. “There’s a song for the state of every soul. When you listen to this story, I hope you find yourself within it. I hope that you might find them within it—the person who makes this life far more beautiful.”
Tracks like the single “Be More” explore these ideas of love. Sonically the soft piano underlines the ghostly echoes of Sanchez’ voice, while the quivering drumbeat gives way to the central plea, “Darling, please let it be more.”
“The song reflects a dialogue between lovers, in this case ‘The Troubadour Sanchez’ and Evangeline,” he notes. “‘The Troubadour Sanchez’ is saying how much he wants Evangeline and is asking her to ‘Be More’. That’s the purpose of the song. It affirms your love is far more than you could ever understand, know, or hold within your hands by yourself.” Elsewhere on the album the upbeat “High” flaunts his fiery high-register. His voice swoons into a falsetto over a farfisa-laden groove. “You’ve got this desperate begging song with ‘Be More’ where the narrator is longing for that one true, divine love,” he continues. “Then, there’s ‘High,’ which is a continued discussion between ‘The Troubadour Sanchez’ and Evangeline. It essentially says, ‘I’m going to steal you from something bad, i.e. your man, and make you feel good for the rest of your life’.” Then, there’s “Doesn’t Do Many Good.” Over a sparse, yet simmering sonic backdrop, he leans into a soulful cadence with flashes of vocal fireworks. “This song is a painful conversation between The Troubadour Sanchez and Evangeline. Though Evangeline loves him, she can’t pursue him because she’s with somebody else. Throughout the song, The Troubadour Sanchez tries to explain that her proclamations of love don’t do him any good if they can’t be together.” “The story of Troubadour Sanchez is something I feel deeply connected to,” Stephen explains. “Even if his ending was bleak, he lived life with an undeniable passion.