Lights Valerie Poxleitner, born Valerie Anne Poxleitner (born on April 11th, 1987), is a Canadian singer-songwriter, signed to her own personal label, Lights Music. Her most notable singles include "Ice", "Second Go" and "Toes". In 2009, she won the Juno Award for Best New Artist.
Lights was born Valerie Anne Poxleitner in Timmins, Ontario. Her parents are of German and Austrian descent. She was raised by missionary parents and spent much of her childhood in various parts of the world, including the Philippines, Jamaica, Ontario and Vancouver. Since the mid 2000s, she has lived in Toronto and had changed her legal name to Lights. When asked about changing her name, she said her former name was a chapter of her life that was over; it was an easy change for her to go through and seemed almost natural. In multiple interviews, she stated that the changing of her name has great significance for her.
2006-07: Musical beginnings:
Lights started her career being a writer for Sony/ATV Music Publishing. Lights was among the songwriters who composed music for the television series Instant Star. She and Luke McMaster are credited with composing "Perfect", sung in the role of Jude Harrison on the show by Alexz Johnson.
In late 2006, she worked with Canadian photographer Marc Lostracco to film her first music video, "February Air", for a Sony promotion. However, Sony never went through with the deal.
She was discovered by Jian Ghomeshi who remains her manager.
2008-09: Lights and The Listening:
Starting in early 2008, Lights toured cities in the Great Lakes region, in both Canada and the United States. In late 2008, she toured the United States.
In August 2008, Lights entered into a record deal with Underground Operations as well as signing a partnership with Warner Bros. in conjunction with Doghouse Records. Around the same time, her song "Drive My Soul" peaked at #18 in the Canadian Hot 100 in 2008. After signing with them, her EP was released in stores on 16 September. Her second single, "February Air", sold 12,000 copies. In early 2008 "The Last Thing on Your Mind" was featured in a commercial for the Old Navy store chain. It was later released in December 2008.
Lights appears in the song & music video for the song "Every Day" by Ten Second Epic (from their album Hometown). The song appears on the Big Shiny Tunes 14 music compilation and the music video was nominated for Best Independent Music Video at the 2010 MuchMusic Video Awards. She is also featured in the song by The Tremulance, "You Got The Girl", and also on the soundtrack (songs "Ben" and "Climbing") for the 2008 Canadian film One Week, starring Joshua Jackson. She was featured as a guest vocalist on the album A Shipwreck in the Sand (2009) by post-hardcore band Silverstein from Burlington, Ontario.
In 2009, Lights released her third single to Canadian radio called "Ice" with a self-made video released via her MySpace. She also released a second video for "Ice" in Canada on 10 November 2009, and in the United States on 11 November 2009. On 10 August 2009, her music video for "Saviour" was released. In an interview for the musical website Hall-Musique, Lights announced she was hoping to release her debut album in Europe by the beginning of 2010.
In March, Lights was named on the American music website - Shred News's '10 Artists to Watch in 2010'
While touring in the summer of 2009 on the Warped Tour, Lights' single "Saviour" premiered on Canadian radio on 6 July 2009, which is from her debut full-length album, The Listening, which was released on 22 September in Canada and 6 October in the United States. The cover for the album was also released, and according to Lights, the entire artwork was inspired by Watchmen, 28 Days Later, and Sailor Moon.
In September 2009, Lights toured with the British band Keane on their Canadian/Pacific Northwest tour. In late 2009, Lights toured all around the United States and Canada with Stars of Track and Field.
2010-present: Acoustic EP and Siberia:
She toured from January to May 2010 with contemporary synthpop artist Owl City in Canada, USA and Europe. Lights is featured on Owl City's song "The Yacht Club" on his album All Things Bright and Beautiful which was released on 14 June 2011, as well as appearing in the music video for another one of Owl City's songs, "Deer in the Headlights". Plans for future collaborations are ongoing. She was also in the summer 2010 Lilith Fair lineup. She embarked on a two week solo UK tour in May 2010 being supported by fellow Canadian artist Rich Aucoin for the majority of her shows. Additionally, Lights was a special guest for pop-rock band Hedley's The Show Must Go... On The Road Tour, as well as These Kids Wear Crowns.
Lights released an acoustic EP titled Acoustic on July 2010. That same month, she began her six-date tour around the US, performing her songs acoustically. In September, she toured with Hedley for eight dates on the Ontario leg of their Canadian tour. In October 2010, Bring Me The Horizon's album There Is a Hell, Believe Me I've Seen It. There Is a Heaven, Let's Keep It a Secret featured Lights as a guest vocalist on the songs "Crucify Me" and "Don't Go". She is also featured on The Secret Handshake's song "Used to be Sweet" from their album Night and Day.
In October 2010, Lights released "My Boots". She also embarked on her headlining tour with Jeremy Fisher.
On 18 June 2011 at the Utopia Music Festival, Lights performed three new songs entitled "Toes", "Where the Fence is Low", and "Everybody Breaks a Glass".
On 4 October 2011, Lights' second studio album, Siberia, was released online to US and Canadian iTunes stores. Siberia was released in Australia on 28 October. The first single off of the album, "Toes", was released on 16 August to iTunes.
Lights says her favourite song on Siberia is "Flux and Flow".
In a September 2007 interview, Lights indicated her primary influence as Björk, whom she has said she would like to work with someday. She also spoke glowingly of Phil Collins's songwriting and ABBA's music, and particularly enjoys European production-based music such as The Knife. She is also influenced by progressive rock such as Electric Light Orchestra, U2 and Supertramp (all of which she has cited multiple times as her "all time favorites") and New Wave such as Depeche Mode and The Cure; she has played the song "Close To Me" by the latter. She has also expressed fondness for dubstep, nu metal, hardcore punk, metal, pop punk, Joni Mitchell, hip hop, and electronic music such as Deadmau5 and Skrillex. In a 2010 interview with UpVenue, she mentioned wanting to collaborate with Michael Bublé someday.
Lights won Indie Awards in the Favourite Solo Artist and Astral Media Radio Favourite Single categories during Canadian Music Week in March 2009 in Toronto. She won the Best New Artist Awards in the Hot AC and CHR categories. All awards were for her debut single "Drive My Soul", except the award for Favourite Solo Artist.
She also won in the best new artist category at the 2009 Juno Awards.
In 2010, she was nominated in the Indie Awards for "Video of the Year" (Drive My Soul) "Pop Artist of the Year" and in the Juno Awards for "Pop Album of the Year" (The Listening).
In November 2010 her debut album The Listening was given a gold certification by the Canadian Recording Industry Association for sales of 40,000 units. The certification trophy was presented during her Toronto concert on 18 November 2010.
On 30 August 2011, Lights became engaged to Beau Bokan, the lead vocalist of blessthefall.