Years ago, being the poor high school kid that I was, the iTunes song of the week was a place to get music for the great price of free. The songs featured were often hit or miss, with emphasis on the miss. But when I first pressed play on LIGHTS’ song “Drive My Soul” I had stumbled on a new favourite artist of mine.
Quickly rising from Old Navy commercials to a self-titled EP and her debut studio album The Listening, LIGHTS has proven her unique synth-pop style will keep her in the iPods and MP3s of fans for quite some time.
Despite her early success, LIGHTS has not taken it as a sign to become negligent. “This has been by far the busiest year of my life,” she said reminiscing on the 200 shows she’s played internationally this year, even venturing overseas to the Philippines in August with World Vision for some outreach work. Having spent some time growing up in the Philippines, she said the trip was a nostalgic one.
“It’s close to my heart. It really took my mind off of everything in an indulgent way,” she said. “[It] kind of made me less afraid of not making the right song.”
On top of all her shows and travel, she released an acoustic EP this summer that includes a previously unreleased song and a few covers. A departure from her usual repertoire, it lacked the heavy production of her other recordings and showed that LIGHTS has a lot more to offer than just computerized sounds.
“It’s easy to misperceive somebody as untalented when you put a lot of production on [their music],” she said. “It showcased the song writing itself and exactly what my capabilities are.”
More recently, LIGHTS released a new single, “My Boots,” a song geared towards those who have experienced the frosty bite of a Canadian winter.
“I looked outside and saw how beautiful winter was and I thought, we can really enjoy this if we dress the right way, if you put your boots on, you can have a romance with something that typically has a negative connotation … It’s kind of a bit of a love song to winter time itself.”
Like the trip to the Philippines, writing this song was a good reprieve from her usual deep, searching and sometimes emotionally draining songwriting.
“I wanted to write something a little easier and arbitrary that didn’t probe deep into the soul,” she said. “[It’s a] good way to challenge yourself as a writer.”
On the topic of the future, she said she hasn’t been able to devote too much of her time on a new album, so fans will have to sit tight for a while longer. She plans to take the winter off to write.
As for aspirations, LIGHTS sees the future as unwritten and wide open.
“When my mind goes there it’s never only music,” she said. “I see so many things for me that I want to do and dream of doing … I’m thinking of maybe going over into game design,[or] building an eco home in the backwoods of BC, off the electricity grid.”
While she may disappear to chase other dreams, “Music is what I’m doing now,” she said. “And I’ll always love doing music.”
LIGHTS plays a sold-out show tonight with Michou at Sydenham St. United Church at 7 p.m.
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