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LIGHTS performing at Hawthorne Theater - Portland, Oregon Nov 2009
Background information
Birth name Valerie Anne Poxleitner
Born 11 April 1987 (1987-04-11) (age 22)
Timmins, Ontario, Canada
Origin Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Genres Synthpop/Electropop[1], New Wave
Occupations Singer-songwriter
Instruments Vocals, synthesizer, keytar, guitar
Years active c. 2002-present[2]
Labels Underground Operations, Doghouse Records, Sire Records

Lights (stylized as LIGHTS, legal name now Lights Valerie Poxleitner, born Valerie Anne Poxleitner on 11 April 1987) is a Juno Award-winning Canadian singer-songwriter. She is known for composing and performing synthpop music such as the songs "Drive My Soul," "Ice," "Saviour," and "February Air" and has performed internationally.


Life and career

Early life

Lights was born in Timmins, Ontario. She was raised by missionary parents and spent much of her childhood in various parts of the world, ranging from the Philippines to Jamaica.[3] She is of German and Austrian descent. She currently lives in Toronto.[4]

When she asked herself in a self-interview about when she wrote her first song, she said "I was 11, and I learned three chords on the guitar. It was the first time I really learned how to play guitar and I wanted to write a song with them so I went down to my mom and I said pick a number between 1 and 150 and she picked 5 or something, I can’t really remember the number, but I went and opened up the Bible and there was 150 Psalms already written so I went to the number she chose and wrote a song with that and that kicked off the biggest thing of my life."[5]

Music career

Lights is a writer for Sony/ATV Music Publishing.[6] 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.[2]

In August 2008, Lights entered into a record deal with Underground Operations as well as signing a partnership with Doghouse Records.[7] Around the same time, her song "Drive My Soul" peaked at #18 in the Canadian Hot 100 in 2008.[8] Her following single, "February Air", was released on 9 December 2008 and reached #3 on the MuchMusic countdown. Lights' single "Saviour" premiered on Canadian radio on 6 July 2009[9], which is from her debut full-length album, The Listening, released on 22 September in Canada[10] 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.[11]

Her live band is composed of Adam Weaver on synthesizers and Maurie Kaufmann (formerly affiliated with BOY and the 6ixty8ights) on drums. Lights has been managed by Canadian musician and CBC Radio personality Jian Ghomeshi since 2002.[12]

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.[13]


Lights performing at the El Corazon in Seattle in November 2009.

She has toured in Canada, the United States, and the United Kingdom. Her first multi-band tour included her and Copeland, Lydia, and Lovedrug.[14] National television appearances in Canada have included MuchMusic in December 2008 and MTV Live in March 2009. Lights was also featured on the 2009 Warped Tour, and played at the Facebook Party at SXSW in Austin, Texas on 15 March 2009.

In September 2009, Lights toured with the British band Keane on their Canadian/Pacific Northwest tour.[13] In late 2009, Lights toured all around the United States and Canada with Stars of Track and Field.

She is touring January-March of 2010, and again in April and May, Lights is touring with contemporary synthpop artist Owl City in the United States and Europe. She is also in the summer 2010 Lilith Fair lineup. [15]


Lights won Indie Awards in the Favourite Solo Artist and Favourite Single categories during Canadian Music Week in March 2009 in Toronto.[16] She won the Best New Artist Awards in the Hot AC and CHR categories.[17] 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.[18]

Other appearances and collaborations

Lights was featured as a singer on three tracks included on the The Februarys' second EP, All The Time in the World: "Meant for Each Other," "Home Is Where the Heartache Is", and "I Was Always Thinking of You." She is also featured in the song by The Tremulance: "You Got The Girl". She appeared in Ten Second Epic's sophomore album, Hometown, and also on the soundtrack for the 2008 Canadian film One Week, starring Joshua Jackson. Lights was to be featured in the song "Ho-Ho-Hopefully" on The Maine's new holiday EP, ...And a Happy New Year but was replaced by the band Eisley. She was recently featured as a guest vocalist on the album A Shipwreck in the Sand (2009) by post-hardcore band Silverstein from Burlington, Ontario. Lights toured with Owl City and Deas Vail at the beginning of 2010.

Musical influences and contemporaries

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 fancies the European production-based music the likes of The Knife.[5]

Lights' single "The Last Thing on Your Mind" sold 12,000 copies in early 2008 after it was featured in a commercial for the Old Navy clothing store chain.[3][19]

Lights was among the songwriters who composed music for the television series Instant Star.[20] She and Luke McMaster are credited with composing "Perfect", sung in the role of Jude Harrison on the show by Alexz Johnson.

Her voice, and her music, have met with very favourable reception in the Toronto press.[3]

Contributions and covers

While there are no covers officially released, she has been known to cover Akon's "Don't Matter", Phil Collins' "In the Air Tonight", and The Backstreet Boys' "I Want It That Way", live in concert.[citation needed] She also contributed a song to the movie One Week, starring Joshua Jackson, as well as the song "Perfect" for the Instant Star TV show.[citation needed] The new Silverstein record A Shipwreck in the Sand features Lights in the song "The End".[21] She has also covered a song by English metalcore band Architects on her weekly vid-blog.[citation needed] She also appears on "Everyday" on the latest Ten Second Epic album.[citation needed] She has been featured in the song, "You Got the Girl" by The Tremulance.

In February 2009, she covered the Architects song "I Can't See the Light" on YouTube.[22]

In September 2009, she covered the Coldplay song "Lost!" on YouTube.[23]

Lights also covered "In The Air Tonight" by Phil Collins at several shows in 2009.[citation needed]

PERSONAL LIFE Lights is currelty dating Danile Williams,drummer for the Band "the Devil wears Parade". She loves to play War of Warcraft. She has numerous tattoos that go along with the game as well with the song "lions".


Lights supports the Toronto charity "Skate4Cancer", and has recorded a song called "Year of the Cure" for their use. [24] Lights also supports the World Vision 30 Hour Famine.[citation needed]


  • 2009–2010: Audio Quest: A Captain Lights Adventure (short film series, MTV)


Studio albums

Year Album details Peak positions
2009 The Listening
  • First studio album
  • Release date: September 22 (Canada)
    October 6, 2009 (U.S)
  • Label: Sire/Rhino/London
7 129 4



Year Single Peak positions Album
2008 "Drive My Soul" 18 Lights
"February Air" 90
2009 "Saviour" 38 The Listening
"Ice" 65
"The Listening" 18
2010 "Second Go[citation needed]"

Unreleased songs

  • "Crutch"
  • "Casanova"
  • "Jess & Jonny"
  • "Outrageous"
  • "The Pity Scene"
  • "Romance Is (Romace)"
  • "Sleeping With a Ghost"
  • "Saturn's Rings"
  • "Year of the Cure"

Featured as Valerie Poxleitner

Featured songs


  1. ^ Lyonnais, Sheena (23 February 2009). "Lights Proves Breakout-Ready". Chart. Retrieved 2009-04-06. 
  2. ^ a b Brian Pascual (23 June 2008). "Lights Finally Finds The Right Phase". Toronto: Chart Communications, Inc.. Retrieved 2008-12-29. 
  3. ^ a b c Sheena Lyonnais (10 March 2008). "Lights makes us happy". Toronto Music Scene - Indie News + Interviews. 
  4. ^ Julian Brass. "Interview with Lights by Julian Brass". 
  5. ^ a b "Lights Interview". Instant Star On Line. 7 September 2007. Retrieved 2008-08-04. 
  6. ^ "ACE Title Search". ASCAP. Retrieved 2009-09-09.  Search for Lights as performer.
  7. ^ "Warner Bros. Records Partners with Doghouse". Marketwatch'. 
  8. ^ "Canadian Hot 100". Retrieved 2008-11-03. 
  9. ^
  10. ^ Marcus, Bianca (12 August 2009). "LIGHTS Release Date Set". Chart. Retrieved 2009-09-09. 
  11. ^ "LIGHTS @ Warped Tour (Updated with Audio)". Eggplante!'. 
  12. ^ "Two local artists get international push on music service", Torontoist, 2008-10-02.
  13. ^ a b Brunet, Stéphane (20 September 2009). "Interview • Lumières sur Lights (oh oh)" (in French). Hall Musique. Retrieved 2009-09-20. 
  14. ^ Henderson, Steve (3 September 2008). "Copeland / Lovedrug / Lydia Tour Dates". AbsolutePunk. 
  15. ^
  16. ^ "2009 Indies Winners". Canadian Music Week. March 2009. Retrieved 2009-03-19. 
  17. ^ "Canadian Radio Music Awards". Canadian Music Week. 13 March 2009. Retrieved 2009-03-19. 
  18. ^ New Artist of the Year at
  19. ^ High, Kamau (24 May 2008). "Old Navy Tunes In". Billboard. p. 12. 
  20. ^ "Writing music for Instant Star", Toronto Star, 28 August 2007.
  21. ^
  22. ^
  23. ^
  24. ^
  25. ^ "Lights Album & Song Chart History". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc.. Retrieved 2010-01-15. 

External links

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