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Elton John invited Stephen Sanchez to sing with him at the Glastonbury Festival in front of 120,000 people. Sofia Richie invited Sanchez to serenade at her luxe wedding in the south of France. Both celebs requested Sanchez's song "Until I Found You," which has accumulated 1.7 billion streams and countless fans.

At 20, Sanchez is the new prince of retro pop. Sounding like the long-lost son of Roy Orbison and Patsy Cline, he is enamored of pre-Beatles popular music. He has the faux-operatic range of Orbison and the ability to take on "Unchained Melody" with Righteous Brothers-worthy elan. He pens three-minute ballads that seduce today's young TikTok-obsessed women as if they were sporting bobby socks and poodle skirts.

"A lot of this younger generation is not familiar with this 1950s rockabilly or the Roy Orbison feeling songs," said Sanchez, who will perform Thursday at First Avenue. " 'Until I Found You' was this kind of oddball song that made it onto [adult alternative] radio playing right after Ariana Grande's single. People are like 'What the heck is this?'"

All this success, including the dreamy new single "Be More," is not bad for a self-described dork who has had only two serious girlfriends.

The first was Georgia, who's mentioned by name in "Until I Found You." In fact, she sings backup vocals on the song. The other is his current love and he's not going to be a "bullhorn about anything in my personal life."

The rest of Sanchez's oeuvre is real but fictional in details like his just-released debut album, "Angel Face." It's a concept LP about a tumultuous love triangle between a singer (Troubadour Sanchez) who scores a 1958 hit ("Until I Found You") and his Jayne Mansfield-like gal (Evangeline) and her previous beau (Hunter). The album spins a cinematic narrative that already has yielded three official videos filled with nightclub scenes, cigarette smoke and steamy romance.

In the videos and live appearances, Sanchez is a sharp-dressed man with slicked back hair and a pinkie ring. That's a character he's playing. In real life he's got curly hair.

"The Troubadour Sanchez creates this alter ego. People aren't paying to see curly hair Sanchez," he said from Brooklyn, where he moved last month after a stint in Nashville.

Regardless of his hairstyle, Sanchez has been receiving airplay on both Top 40 radio stations as well as hip alternative outlets like 89.3 the Current. It's probably because he's refreshed a retro sound.

When reviewing "Angel Face" as the Current's album of the week, the station's music director, Jade Tittle, wrote: "It continues to solidify his old soul style and keen ability to write relatable tunes about giving someone your heart and having that heartache."

Sinatra's blueprint for romance

Sanchez grew up in Sacramento, Calif., listening to records in his grandparents' barn in San Jose. When he was 10, he was grooving to Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole, the Platters and other classic names.

After hearing Orbison's "Pretty Woman" in some movies, he dived into the Rock & Roll Hall of Famer's catalog.

"His voice has influenced so much of mine. Diction, my styling when I sing, especially for this record. 'Crying,' 'Only the Lonely,' 'Lonely Wine.' He's such a singer of lonely songs and being blue. I love that."

After singing in the cafeteria in high school during lunch hours, Sanchez eventually found his own voice. It came partially from copying contemporary rock singers from Needtobreathe and Lord Huron as well as the old crooners.

"Over the years, I realized that I'm just going to sing how I feel. The feeling helps you discover your voice," he said. "You can't fake a feeling like you can fake copying someone's voice. A song you've written, you discover your voice. That feeling carries your speech."

Along the way, Sanchez realized he's a romantic. Partly because there was a lack thereof in his life and partly because of Ol' Blue Eyes.

"Frank Sinatra's music is the blueprint on how to ask a girl out, how to talk to a girl, how to care about a girl," the young singer said. "If you don't have parents in your life who are able to do that, all those artists were accidental teachers, singing about their own experiences of love and ideas of what love can be."

He's gone to school not just singing like classic stars but performing like them. Watching last year's movie "Elvis" had a liberating impact on Sanchez.

"I saw that movie like eight times in the theater," he said. "It taught me to move while singing. It helped me give my body to it rather than just my voice and my heart. Give my entire being to it and allow it to move me. It helped me to be a bit more brave and daring and try things I wouldn't normally try."

The young singer also received some tips from his new buddy Elton John, who attended Sanchez's show at Los Angeles' legendary Troubadour club.

"He gave us the advice to have the boys in the band sing their [backup] vocals live and not use any more [recorded] tracks. That's what we're doing this tour. It's very organic."

In concert, Sanchez promises some drama when he performs "Angel Face" in its entirety.

"I have dialogue written for each song, acknowledging characters to bring people into this space that feels the 1950s and early '60s," he explained. "It's going to be exciting for fans to feel like they're stepping into a time machine, seeing a crooner back in the day."

Sanchez turns 21 on Nov. 3, when he'll be performing in Los Angeles. He doesn't plan anything special. In fact, he might be retreating into his dork mode.

"It's awkward for me 'cause I get celebrated all the time. That makes me feel so weird," he said. "I'm sure my beautiful love will bring me a cupcake and she'll give me a kiss. I'm sure the guys in the band will sing 'Happy Birthday' and they'll write a sweet card. I'll probably have a drink onstage.

"There are two realities. I'm having to be something for people and perform and be this alter ego. After it's done, I'm just me. I'm normal," Sanchez said. "It's a tough thing for someone who's 20. Money and fame don't do anything for me. It's not what fills my soul. These years are very formative and to have them seen and put on display because you're a famous musician, that's really hard. I think it's going to be OK."

Speaking of momentous occasions, how much does it cost to have Sanchez sing at a wedding?

"It costs just a place to sleep and free food and my flight. I've never charged anybody for a wedding. It seems wrong, almost," he said. "That's why I started writing music to soundtrack beautiful moments of love."

Such a romantic.

Stephen Sanchez

Opening: Stephen Day.

When: 7:30 p.m. Thu.

Where: First Avenue, 701 1st Av. N., Mpls.

Tickets: $66 and up,