Stephen Sanchez is just 19, but his breakout hit “Until I Found You” sounds like it was recorded in the 1950s. That’s because his biggest musical inspiration is African-American vocal groups of that 1930s, 40s and 50s, which he says he loves because the music back then was so emotional.

Stephen tells ABC Audio. “Those African-American groups like The Platters and The Ink Spots…I mean, they gave so much soul and heart into their music…the way that they sang about love was just so incredible.”

“That was something that I always gravitated towards because it was such a deep understanding and such a passion behind their words,” Stephen says of those groups, both of whom are in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

He explains, “Whether they wrote the song or not, they made it seem like they were living these incredibly simple, yet somehow timeless and profound moments that we’ve all experienced universally or have yet to.”

In fact, Stephen says the music those groups recorded didn’t just impact his songwriting: It changed his entire personality.

“It’s made me a more emotional person; it’s made me a more romantic person,” he notes. “And I think that I would be less of that person without that music and less of a romantic songwriter without that music.”

And Stephen’s glad that despite its old-timey sound, his song is popular with people his own age.

“It’s really cool to see this generation, like, really connect to that song that feels like it’s from another time, he says, adding, “It’s really, really special.” 

For now, we’ll just have to listen to “Until I Found You” because we can’t see Stephen live: He canceled his fall tour plans in order to undergo throat surgery.

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