Written by: Beau Brown
Downtown Canton was lit up on Friday night. There were no explosions or fires, but rather a sprightly young musician named Lights.
Lights Poxleitner, a 25-year-old recording artist from Toronto, Canada, held her second concert in Northeast Ohio this year in the nearby city of Canton. Hundreds of fans gathered at the doors of The Auricle, an intimate venue located downtown.
The music that Lights crafts ranges from electronic to acoustic. The sounds she creates are as diverse as the styles of hair she goes through. From upbeat to mellow, Lights always likes to shake it up when it comes to putting songs on her albums. What remains constant, however, is her soft, relaxing voice that accompanies the beat.
The first thing that people notice about the singer is her different-sounding name. Born Valerie Anne Poxleitner, she changed her name to Lights at 18 in order to reflect the changes she was going through at the time. Her life was taking a turn: She was about to release her first EP, and her life as a musician was beginning.
“I purely enjoyed making music ever since I wrote my first song,” she said in a phone interview. “I wanted to create something for the world to hear, and kept challenging myself to make something new.”
Her self-challenge erupted into success. In 2009, Lights released her first album, The Listening, which comprised 13 electronic, galactic-sounding tracks. Five of these tracks — “Saviour,” “Drive My Soul,” “Ice,” “Second Go,” and “February Air” — charted in the Canadian Hot 100. In the same year, Lights received the Juno Award for New Artist of the Year, which is similar to winning a Grammy in the United States.
Ever since, Lights has been continually creating new sounds and experimenting with her musical talent. She has toured the world, performing in places like Canada, the United Kingdom, and our own United States. A self-proclaimed nerd, Lights is an avid player of World of Warcraft and a fan of comic books, especially those featuring Wonder Woman. She made artwork to go along with her songs, and even created her own comic book series, which can be viewed on YouTube.
Lights released her second album, Siberia, in 2011. It contains 16 tracks that are noticeably different from her first album. She switched from galactic to grungy, but her voice is timeless.
“Musically, I knew I had changed since The Listening,” she said. “My instincts for what sounded good on an album had changed. I love the new natural setting that comes with Siberia, but I wouldn’t have achieved that sound without having learned from my previous album.”
Her Siberia tour is now reaching its end, but she couldn’t help but to visit the Akron area again, to which local fans happily responded by attending and selling out the venue. Screams erupted from the crowd of hundreds as she jumped onto the stage and began rocking out. She kept the crowd lively by standing on platforms and touching the hands of her fans. She wasn’t afraid to go freestyle and let the bass send waves of sound pulsating through the bodies in the audience.
According to Lights, touring is the best part of her musical experience. It’s what has inspired her to continue making music and playing it around the world for her fans to hear.
“My absolute favorite part of touring is being in a new place every night,” she said. “Sometimes I forget where I am, but it doesn’t make much of a difference, because wherever I go, the sound, the people and the excitement is constant.”
Touring throughout America has been nothing but a rewarding experience for Lights. It’s a perfect way for her and her fans to connect at a personal level.
“I love to meet new fans and spend time with them by rocking out in concert,” she said. “Seeing people sing along to my songs makes it the most rewarding for me. I’m happy to know I’m earning the respect of these people.”
Lights Poxleitner’s life has been nothing but making, playing and sharing music. To this day, she continues to extend her musical hand to introduce herself, and is only growing more famous. The young, petite and lovable musician never loses the excitement of doing her job.
“I’m so thankful for what has happened to me and what Siberia has done for me,” she said. “More so now than ever, it hits me how much I hear from my fans. Knowing that I’m there for them, even if I’m not physically there, is amazing. It’s interesting, because I can help them on a different scale, and they are the inspiration for me to continue making music.”
Filed Under: Arts and Life