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Music that drives the soul

The Carolinian has a one-on-one with Canadian artist Lights during the Verizon Wireless College Tour

By Ashley Johnson


Published: Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Updated: Monday, January 18, 2010

Idling on a couch alone in her dressing room, Lights finishes up a video blog and hops up to offer a hug and a bubbly hello before the interview.

Freshly signed to Warner Bros. Records, which also features artists such as Lily Allen and Dropkick Murphys, Lights begins her first ever extensive tour on The Verizon College Tour. So far she’s happy about her luck, “I love it,” she says, “I love going to the little towns, they’re so cute.”

Headlining the tour is the group Boys Like Girls with Cute Is What We Aim For accompanying them. “They’re so good! But I was nervous at first,” Light’s says, “I was so nervous about the tour that I was sick almost.” And with good reason. Traveling with the likes of Boys Like Girls could be pretty intimidating, especially if it’s your first tour. The first few days meeting the guys were a little shaky. Lights laughingly related the experience to the first day of school, “Nobody talks to you for the first few days, and then you go out to dinner and you’re best friends. There’s nothing like the bond that musicians have on tour.”

Last Wednesday, Lights took the stage playing an energetic half hour set worth of songs including ‘The Last Thing On Your Mind”, “Drive My Soul”, and “February Air” which has earned her over a million hits on her MySpace page. The audience offered everything from catcalls to applause, but in the end, it was all around adoration for the contagiously electric, poppy sounds of Lights. When asked how the American audience compares to the familiarity of home, Lights says, “It’s hard to say because campus shows are so different- it’s not the same in Canada. But, it’s fun because the audiences are learning- I get to introduce them to something new.” Because her music is so electronically infused, she only has a three member set with Maury as the drummer and Adam on hand with extra electronic pieces.

As with most artists, Lights’ fan base is very dear to her. So to keep up with them she records and posts a humorous video blog every Thursday on her MySpace page through YouTube. “I knew all my MySpace work paid off when Tom, the father of MySpace, messaged me and was like, ‘I love your music’.” To further show his appreciation, Tom featured her music on his page. Although, this isn’t the first time Light’s has been recognized for her musical magnetism, many of her songs were used in Old Navy’s spring ad campaign, and her song “Drive My Soul” was featured on MTV’s popular show The Hills. Even though Lights is described as electronic-pop, she doesn’t plan on staying the same forever. “Everyone goes through phases- I’m contemporary right now,” she says. She identifies with today’s top artists who are making waves being a little off kilter like M.I.A, CSS, and Justice. And she’s even more excited that there are great bands coming out of Canada these days like Metric, Chromeo and Arcade Fire, who was recently in Greensboro at an Obama rally.

Lights, which is her real name, got her musical start, of all places, during home schooling. With music always being a part of her family, once every week her father would have a music day. “When I was eleven, my father taught me three chords on the guitar and I ran upstairs and wrote my first song.” She’s been held up in her room writing song after song ever since. She’s a self-proclaimed hermit, though it’s hard to believe when she admits that she’s lived almost everywhere, including the Philippines and Germany, where her roots are. But Toronto, Canada is where she calls home. These days she doesn’t see home or her family much, but she’s not completely upset about it. Back in Canada, she lived in Toronto and her parents stayed in Vancouver, so she’s used to the distance.

With the tour still in full swing Lights didn’t think she would have the time to get other things done. But, with things being as surprisingly laid back as they are, she’s had time for collaborations with other musicians as well as doing musical work for a film. She does all this all while staying faithful to her fans, working on her video and comic blog and, of course, writing new music. A video game fanatic, Lights plays the RPG game World of War Craft religiously in her free time, and is also a huge comic book fan. To prove it, she lifts up her shirt to reveal a huge tattoo of Wonder Woman on her back.

She’s just started out in the states but Lights is eager to get her foot in the door of the overseas market, especially Japan. But here at home full length record is nearly finished, and the six-track self-titled EP has already been released on iTunes for purchase. The Cute Is What We Aim For leg of the tour ends on October 13, and then she goes back to Canada where her familiarity with the Canadian public lends her a headline until October 18. Lights will then tour with Copeland for the last stretch of the tour ending on November 23 in Orlando, Fl. You can have your much-needed fill of Lights on her page at and

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