LIGHTS is the project of Lights Poxleitner (that’s her real, legal name), a 22-year-old singer-songwriter hailing from Toronto, Canada. Already fairly well known in her home country, it is only a matter of time before LIGHTS follows in the footsteps of Owl City to make her own mark on the synth-pop scene in the United States.
You may have unknowingly heard her before, thanks to Old Navy; in early 2008, a commercial for the retailer featured her song “February Air.” This fall she released her first full-length album, “The Listening,” on Doghouse Records.
LIGHTS has toured with bands including Copeland, Boys Like Girls, Lydia and Keane. In the spring, she is set to tour with her masculine musical match, Owl City. She lists influences ranging from ABBA and Supertramp to Mew, Justice, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Gwen Stefani and Bjork.
Unlike many musical acts on the scene today, Poxleitner is an artist through-and-through. She personally designs her merchandise and album art and keeps fans updated through several outlets, including video blogs and a sporadically published comic strip which she draws herself. She has arrived at her sound and message through a careful examination of her own aesthetic ideals.
“Growing up a musical kid you want to try things out. You never stay the same,” said Poxleitner.
Having experimented with a number of different sounds, Poxleitner finally found one which felt, as she expressed, “right.”
“It was kind of a consummation of everything up to that point,” she said.
She has now settled on what she fondly refers to as “intergalactic electro-pop music.” Listen and you will understand; her music and her image live up to the expansive title.
“‘Intergalactic’ is something that’s ethereal, lush, moody,” said Poxleitner. “It’s almost like a dream of mine. At the core there’s good songs where it comes from, and that’s what pop music is. My songs have the core of a good pop song and they’re wrapped around with this crazy intergalactic stuff.”
While this at first may sound insane, or far too romantic for today’s world, the sound of LIGHTS is certainly music made for escape. It is music in the way that art may be idealized—a look into a world not quite one’s own, or, instead, a look at one’s own world from a foreign perspective.
“It’s more of the concept of the limitless bounds of space,” Poxleitner said. “Nobody really knows what’s out there, and you can see something crazy, and maybe it’s real. You can have the ability to formulate your own thoughts.”
With LIGHTS, an attempt is made to delve into some interplanetary plane. What is really out of the realm of possibility?
Ultimately, the message of LIGHTS is a positive one.
“I think it’s important in your life to take steps toward becoming that person that you want to become, to be that much more of the way you were made to be,” she said. “And if you don’t make those steps, no one else is going to do it for you. I’m turning into the person I want to become.”
She puts it quite simply: “I know what I want to hear, and I play it.”
You can see and hear more from LIGHTS at www.iamlights.com.
Bonnie Falconer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.