Review: The Rise of Stephan Sanchez

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Hope Walker

Above, image displays the title of the article and features the artist in question. The background photo shows the night sky through a disposable camera lense in an airplane and the lettering is stylised as a cinematic, neon, glowing sign to create a vintage effect to represent Sanchez’s old-time aesthetic. (Hope Walker)

Hope Walker, Reporter

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When he was 19 years old, Stephen Sanchez caught people’s attention with his melodious song, “Lady by the Sea”, on social media platforms in 2020. A year later, his viral hit, “Until I Found You”, reached international charts and accumulated over 170 million plays.

His debut extended play, What Was, Not Now, dropped Oct. 15, 2021 and features my favourite track, “Pool”, and a preleased single, “Kayla”.

Sanchez dropped another extended play, Easy On My Eyes, on Friday, Aug. 19 of this year, in which he channels a more folkish side than what listeners are used to, and inserts the fan favorite song “Until I Found You” to close out the album.

Lady by the Sea

Sanchez displayed his charismatic persona when he wrote his first alluring track with the help of young pop star, Jeremy Zucker, producing the final draft in 2020. I sent my sister this song followed by multiple heart-eyes and chef’s kiss emojis, so it’s safe to say that I am a fan of this romantically inclined ballad.

The melodies and vocables Sanchez composes are enticing as he sings of a beautiful lady by the sea. The prominence of the soft acoustic guitar all throughout the song fosters the overall ethereal aesthetic and plays perfectly with his dulcet, fluttering vocals.

Until I Found You

Despite its popularity on TikTok, the first time I heard this was in the back of somebody’s car on the radio. It was only a chunk of the chorus I heard that I took a liking to, and couldn’t resist Shazaming. After listening to it again the next day, I became obsessed.

The vibrant electric guitar introduces listeners to the two minutes and 58 seconds long idyllic love song, starting off with 10 seconds of captivating and soothing chords before the orotund vocals of Sanchez jump in, singing about his girlfriend at the time.

The transition between the verse to the chorus is effortless, and the slight reverb to his voice adds to the timeless strain of propounding profound love and adoration towards his lover. It throws me into a daydream of the most magical moments that make up high school experiences- young love.

Sanchez is supported by Georgia Brown’s mellifluous backing vocals to add to the track’s old-fashioned air; the chorus reminisces on all the 50s greatest love songs from Paul Anka to The Platters with a similar swing rhythm and rich vibrato in the vocals. 

The Pool

“To fall in love in love isn’t easy when you’re afraid of heights,” Sanchez sings. “Would you trust me to catch you at the bottom of the pool?”

Sanchez’s lyrics verbalise the struggle of falling back and trusting someone to catch you, especially within brand new relationships. He opens this song with a strand of echoey, non-lexical “oohs” to create a spacious, three-dimensional surround sound effect.

“The Pool” is another of my favourites because of the pristine vocals and austere acoustic guitar following the same blueprints designated as a Stephen Sanchez trademark. 

Overview

In terms of writing, I found there’s nothing unique about his lyrics, as he tends to play on all the cliches and simplicity of writing a hit pop song targeted towards infatuated teenagers.

Although that comes out sounding negative, sometimes being plain and straightforward is just as romantic as having a deep meaning.

Sanchez’s style is the epitome of hopeless romanticism and all the feelings that come with it, which is why I encourage you to check out his newly-debuted extended play, Easy On My Eyes.