Lights (musician)






Lights (musician)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Lights in London 150316.JPG

Lights performs in London, Hoxton Square Bar and Kitchen on the 15th March 2016.
Background information
Birth name Valerie Anne Poxleitner
Born (1987-04-11) April 11, 1987 (age 30)
Timmins, Ontario, Canada
Origin Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • Singer-songwriter
  • musician
  • Vocals
  • synthesizer
  • keytar
  • guitar
  • piano
Years active 2006–present
Associated acts

Lights (born Valerie Anne Poxleitner, April 11, 1987), is a Canadian musician, singer, and songwriter. She is known for her gold-certified album The Listening,[5] as well as singles “Drive My Soul“, “February Air“, “Ice“, “Second Go“, “Toes“, and “Up We Go“. Lights tours extensively to support her recordings.

Lights was awarded the 2009 Juno Award for New Artist of the Year.[6][7] and two 2009 Astral Media Radio awards during Canadian Music Week.[8][9]

Early life[edit]

Lights was born Valerie Anne Poxleitner in Timmins, Ontario. As the daughter of missionary parents, Welsh mother, Virginia Poxleitner and Canadian father of German and Austrian descent, Eric Poxleitner,[10] she spent her childhood in many parts of the world, including the Philippines, Jamaica, Ontario, and British Columbia. She moved to Toronto at the age of 18 when she legally changed her name to Lights. She got the nickname “Lights” from her last name Poxleitner. As there was already a signed band named “Lights”, having her name officially changed was a way to use it in spite of prior copyright.[11][12][13][14]

Music career[edit]

2006–07: Musical beginnings[edit]

In high school, Lights played guitar and sang in the metal band Shovel Face. She set up a page on Myspace, accumulating a following. She began writing for Sony/ATV Music Publishing,[15] and composed music for the television series Instant Star.[16] 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 didn’t confirm the deal, and the project was never completed.

In 2007, she contracted with Jian Ghomeshi, who acted as her manager until late 2014.[12]

2008–09: Lights and The Listening[edit]

Starting in early 2008, Lights toured cities in the Great Lakes region, in both Canada and the United States. Around the same time, her song “Drive My Soul” rose to No.18 in the Canadian Hot 100.[17] In late 2008, she toured the United States.[18]

In August 2008, Lights signed a record deal with Toronto-based label Underground Operations. She also signed an American partnership deal with Warner Bros. along with Doghouse Records.[19] Her EP was released in stores in September. Her second single, “February Air,” which had been used in a commercial for Old Navy in early 2008,[11][20] released in December and sold about 12,000 copies.

Lights contributed vocals in Ten Second Epic‘s song “Every Day” and appeared in their music video. The song appeared on the Big Shiny Tunes 14 compilation album and the music video was nominated for Best Independent Music Video at the 2010 MuchMusic Video Awards. She is also featured on the soundtrack (songs “Ben” and “Climbing”) for the 2008 Canadian film One Week, starring Joshua Jackson. She was a guest vocalist on the album A Shipwreck in the Sand, released in 2009 by post-hardcore band Silverstein from Burlington, Ontario.

In 2009, Lights released her third single to Canadian radio stations called “Ice” with a homemade video released on her MySpace. She also released a second video for “Ice” in Canada on November 10, 2009. It was released in the United States on November 11, 2009. On August 10, 2009, her music video for “Saviour” was released. [21]

In March, Lights was named on the American music website Shred News’s 10 Artists to Watch in 2010.[22]

While touring in the summer on the 2009 Vans Warped Tour, Lights’s single “Saviour” premiered on Canadian radio stations on July 6, 2009. The song is from her first full-length album, The Listening, which was released on September 22 in Canada.[23] It was released on October 6 in the United States after she left Underground Operations for her own record label, Lights Music Inc. The cover for the album was also released. According to Lights, the entire artwork was inspired by Watchmen, 28 Days Later, and Sailor Moon.[24]

In September 2009, Lights toured with the British band Keane on their Canadian/Pacific Northwest tour.[21] In late 2009, Lights toured all around the United States and Canada with Stars of Track and Field.

2010–2013: Acoustic EP, Siberia, Siberia Acoustic, and tour[edit]

Lights performing in Toronto, 2010.

Lights toured from January–May 2010 with contemporary synthpop artist Owl City in Canada, the United States, and Europe. She was featured on Owl City’s song “The Yacht Club” on 2011 album All Things Bright and Beautiful, and appeared in the music video for his song “Deer in the Headlights.” She went on a two-week solo UK tour in May 2010 being supported by fellow Canadian artist Rich Aucoin for most 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[25] in July 2010. Her debut for the album was at the University of Waterloo, where she had received most of her inspiration for the album. 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.”[26] She is also featured on The Secret Handshake‘s song “Used to be Sweet” from their album Night and Day.[27]

Lights performing at King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut, May 20, 2010.

In October 2010, Lights released “My Boots.” She also left on her headlining tour with Jeremy Fisher.[28]

At the June 2011 Utopia Music Festival, Lights performed three new songs, “Toes“, “Where the Fence is Low,” and “Everybody Breaks a Glass.” The single “Toes” was released in August as the first single to Lights’ second studio album, Siberia. Lights signed with Last Gang Records; concerns by the label executives about her shift in style to a more gritty sound caused delay in the release of the album, but it was eventually released online in the US and Canada on October 4 and later that month in iTunes stores in Australia. Siberia received positive reviews and was nominated for a Juno Award for Best Pop Album of the Year.[29] Lights said in an interview that her favorite song on Siberia was “Flux and Flow.”[30]

In March, 2013, Lights released an acoustic version of “Cactus in the Valley”, featuring Owl City, as a single in the UK.[31]

Siberia Acoustic, was released in April, 2013, and reached Number 7 in Canada. She toured around North America in support of the album,[32] with Dear Rouge opening some dates and Lianne La Havas opening others.[33]

2014–2016: Little Machines[edit]

In July 2014, Lights’ album, Little Machines, became available for pre-order on iTunes with its lead single, “Up We Go“, available to download. The album was released on September 23 in the US and Canada. “Running with the Boys” received radio play early 2015 as the second official single, while “Portal” and “Same Sea” received promotional releases.

In September, 2014 the music video for “Up We Go” was released. This video was filmed all in one take and currently has more than 2.5 million views. In October, Lights parted ways with her long-time manager Jian Ghomeshi.

In 2015 the artist continued touring extensively in venues such as Old National Centre in Indianapolis in support of her most recent album. That year she began work on an EP titled “Midnight Machines”.; it was released on April 8, 2016 and included six tracks from Little Machines, as well as two new songs called “Follow You Down” and “Head Cold.”

Avatars of Lights with her band and her songs “Same Sea” and “Up We Go” were featured in the 2016 video game “LOUD on Planet X”.

2017–present: Skin & Earth[edit]

In April 2017, Lights announced the forthcoming release of her fourth studio album, Skin & Earth, expected to arrive in the fall of 2017.[34] A comic book series designed by the singer will accompany the release of the record, with the first edition expected to be published in July 12, 2017. New music will be released with each edition on a monthly basis until the album is released in full.[34]


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.[8] She won the Best New Artist Awards in the Hot AC and CHR categories.[9] 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.[35]

In 2010, she was nominated in the Indie Awards for “Video of the Year” (Drive My Soul), “Pop Artist of the Year,”[36] and in the Juno Awards for “Pop Album of the Year” (The Listening).[37]

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.[5] The certification trophy was presented during her Toronto concert on November 18, 2010.

In February 2012, her album Siberia was nominated for a Juno Award in “Pop Album of the Year” Category.[38]

In March 2015, her album Little Machines won the Juno Award for “Pop Album of the Year”.[39]

Personal life[edit]

Lights was introduced to Beau Bokan, the lead vocalist of metalcore band Blessthefall at a concert in Los Angeles, and the two started dating soon after. After becoming engaged in September, 2011,[40] they were married on May 12, 2012 and Lights added “Bokan” to her last name (now stylised as Poxleitner-Bokan).[41] Their first child, Rocket Wild, was born in February 2014.[42] In 2014, the family moved to Mission, British Columbia.[43]


Studio albums

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