After blowing up on Tiktok with his single “Lady By the Sea”, Stephen Sanchez has been stunning us with new creations, one after the next. His debut EP What Was, Not Now takes us on an emotional journey through a broken relationship. Raw and beautiful, Sanchez writes from the heart, sure to give listeners all the feels.
BTS: How has your career developed since you went viral on TikTok?
Sanchez: I was actually just thinking about this – it’s been wild. The people I’ve gotten to meet, the people I’ve been able to write with, it’s been very humbling. I had a show last night in Nashville, and people were singing along to my songs which is just surreal. My team and managers are amazing, too, and they really care. Everyone on my team is a natural born comedian.
This is a song I wrote called, “Lady By The Sea”. In the simplest way, it’s about a girl who plays hard to get while hangin’ out on the beach. #fyp
BTS: What was the process like for creating your EP What Was, Not Now?
Sanchez: These songs were written before all the labels, management, etc. It’s a start-to-finish story about a relationship, from the moments together to the breakup. These songs were written about real things going on at certain points in my life and being heartbroken after a relationship.
BTS: Who helped with this process?
Sanchez: Once I listened to all my songs and decided which ones I wanted use to piece the EP together, we had to pick a producer. We landed on Ian, who believed in my songs and fell in love with them. He saw where the songs could go production wise and directionally. And Conrad is an amazing engineer – the duo really solidified the EP.
BTS: Who or what inspired the album, creatively?
Sanchez: The EP is solely inspired by Night Beds, specifically their record Country Sleep. The guitar was drawn from Bon Iver and the lyricism stems from Lord Huron. I wanted my songs to be more poetic and not literal.
BTS: Where does the title come from?
Sanchez: I was flying back and forth, making the EP, and figuring things out with a girl at the time. I remember going to bed one night and thinking about everything. I came to the realization that what was then, is no longer now – and that was it! The title just popped out of no where and it seemed to be a hit with everyone I brought it to. People can interpret it the way they want; titles can have different meanings.
BTS: What do you hope listeners take away from it?
Sanchez: I hope people can relate. I know what it’s like breaking up with someone and not being certain about a decision. I want people to cry and feel – we can’t be stuck with pain. This EP is a safe place where people’s emotions can be well received.
BTS: How would you describe your sound, overall?
Sanchez: Sob in your car, dance in your kitchen songs. I feel like that says it best. I put myself under the genre of singer/ songwriter, which allows me to branch out.
BTS: What is your favorite song on the EP and why?
Sanchez: It’s called “I Want You”. It was my first time recording in a real studio, and the emotions that day were unmet. The recording you hear isn’t how we originally had planned it, we tried different takes. It was the most painful song to write and Ian and Conrad were able to relate during that season, which was a beautiful thing. So many tears over this song – I love it, it’s my favorite.
BTS: What was the process like for your first music video “I Want You”?
Sanchez: It was such a great process. 1824 is an amazing company with great people who really love artists and music. I felt such passion and intimacy amongst this group of people. Harrison shot it, and Penny directed it. The video just feels intimate and raw and emotional. The blindfold I’m seen with represents the veil that was put over my eyes – a naive hopefulness. The stumbling around represents not knowing, yet moving forward on the path to meet her. I was chasing something that wasn’t chasing me.
BTS: Can we expect more acoustic videos from you?
Sanchez: I’ve always loved the acoustic videos that artists do. I definitely want to do more of these. I think it’s super cool to give listeners an acoustic performance without them having to attend a live event.
BTS: Who are some of your inspirations/ favorite artists?
Sanchez: I never said this before, but Noah Kahan. He is singlehandedly my favorite songwriter – he’s so brilliant. He’s a great friend, too. He just gets me excited for the future and life.
BTS: What is your favorite part about being an artist?
Sanchez: Honestly, I love asking other artists to breakfast. I wouldn’t be able to do that if I wasn’t one, myself. Food is actually very intimate – you can connect so deeply over a table of food. It’s cool getting to connect with others on a human level, not just musically. Hearing people sing my songs back to me from a crowd is awesome too – I could fall in love with that aspect.
BTS: If you could talk to your younger self, what would you say?
Sanchez: I wouldn’t want to spoil anything for myself; I’d rather feel like I wasn’t going to make it. But, I would remind myself that emotions are fluid and everything will be okay. That won’t be the worst heartbreak you feel, it won’t be the last either. Also, hug your sister more!
BTS: What are you most excited for in the future? What can we expect?
Sanchez: I’m excited to meet more people, whether artist or fan. I can’t wait for tour and to play more shows with crazy good people. I’m ready to warm up crowds for whoever will have me out. The next batch of songs are the best I’ve ever written and they mean a lot to me. They’re not about one person or thing, they’re more universal.
BTS: What final message do you want to send to your fans and listeners?
Sanchez: Thank you so much for giving me the opportunity to have a job, and the job I’ve always wanted. It’s truly because of the fans. Listen to my music and fall in love with it, more is coming.
We can’t wait to keep sobbing in our cars and crying in our kitchens. With much in store, Sanchez is destined for so much greatness, and we are surely along for the ride!
Stream What Was, Not Now on Spotify now!
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