LIGHTS with RUBIK at the Eagle Theater

MONDAY OCTOBER 24, 2011
doors at 7pm
tickets: $13.50 ADV; $15 DOS (buy tickets)

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Most twenty-two year old pop stars have an army of professional image sculptors behind them: producers, songwriters, stylists, and abused assistants. But LIGHTS, who grew up all over the world, is used to traveling light. So she decided she'd simplify things by doing all those jobs herself. "It's easy to misconstrue a young girl singer as a total puppet. I am the opposite of that. This is what I do. I am LIGHTS."

Born in Timmins, Ontario, LIGHTS lived in the Philippines and Jamaica during her elementary school years. "My family is very get-up-and-go if we feel called to do something different," the singer explains. "It was a really important thing to learn about as a kid, that nothing is so important that you cant leave it behind." LIGHTS' mother home schooled the kids; but, one day a week the singer's father would take over. "We looked forward to that day because we got to recite poetry and learn music. Nothing was taken too seriously and we got to sing. That really instilled in me a passion for music."

In 1997 the family moved back to Canada and almost immediately, nine year-old LIGHTS got her hands on a guitar. By eleven she'd learned a handful of chords, which she used to write her first song. Then, at thirteen she turned her attention to production. "I had so many more ideas than just the vocals and the guitar. I wanted to put a glockenspiel and strings and a bass and drums in there!"

As a teenager Lights spent much of her time writing songs up in her attic bedroom, which she dubbed Starry Night studios after her favorite Van Gogh painting. By eighteen LIGHTS had moved out of her parents' house and was living in Toronto with only her pet tarantula Lance to keep her company. In this state of near-isolation LIGHTS finally found her signature sound- a merging of classic pop songwriting with deeply intimate yet universally appealing lyrics. She wrote "February Air," a poignant ode to the chill of winter love, which became the first of four LIGHTS songs used by Old Navy in the company's 2008 spring ad campaign.

Though her star was clearly on the rise, it was LIGHTS' online profile that really solidified her fan base. Between the singer's MySpace page (which to date has over eight million visits and fifteen million plays,) her personal web site iamlights.com and her passion for web-based fantasy games like World of Warcraft, the artist's online identity is as evolved as your nerdiest teenage boy's and this is something she's very proud of. "There's an entire world of people out there that play WoW and are talking about science fiction and they feel a little bit outcast, so if you can reach those people that's sweet! Even my look is inspired by video game characters – it's a cross between Laura Croft and Wonder Woman."

In April 2008 LIGHTS released her eponymous EP. It contained six songs including "February Air," which reached #3 on the MuchMusic countdown in Canada, as well as the epic "Drive My Soul," which was an even bigger hit; the song was added to radio without being serviced, climbed all the way to #1 on Much Music, and spent over three months in the Top 20 on Hot AC radio. On the strength of her EP alone, LIGHTS won the 2009 Juno (the Canadian equivalent of a Grammy Award) for New Artist of the Year, joining the ranks of Feist and Nelly Furtado.

The singer's rapidly growing fan base was clamoring for live LIGHTS shows so she hit the road, playing countless sold out gigs in her home country, as well as numerous festival dates in the UK. In addition to touring extensively through the United States, this summer LIGHTS spent five weeks on the 2009 Vans Warped Tour and this fall will join Keane on their Canadian tour.

LIGHTS' full-length debut, The Listening, is out now. It includes a few songs already familiar to die-hard Lights fans, as well as plenty of new material including the first single, "Saviour," a propulsive pop ballad that represents the essence of Lights. "My songs are spawned from moments of sadness or intense emotion," the singer says. "'Saviour' is a big example of taking one of those really dark emotional situations and turning it into something positive. I just happened to get hit with a really dark sad night. The melody started coming together and the words started pouring out. I was crying when I wrote the first line of the chorus and it actually sounds kind of like crying. It's a really, really powerful song for me."

Using music to translate something painful into something transcendent is LIGHTS' primary purpose. It's her commitment to keeping pure the connection that music creates that guides her as she prepares to release her first major album. "I think about how some of the greatest artists over time kind of went crazy because they didn't have that ability to show people who they were," the singer muses. "They were living a double life and that's not healthy. Now you can be yourself and people will still love you for it. Who you see is exactly who I am. And I think if I maintain that and don't fake anything with my fans, I'll never go crazy."

 

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