Lights: Making Waves in Electro-Pop

Photo Credit: Matt Barnes

Valerie Anne Poxleitne, known by her stage name Lights, was born on April 11, 1987 in Timmins, Ontario. Growing up her family moved to different countries across the globe. Valerie learned how to play the guitar from her dad. In high school, Valerie joined the metal band Shovel Face. As she gained listeners, Valerie began writing for Sony Music Publishing and the TV show Instant Star. In 2008, Valerie started touring shows in Canada and America to establish a larger fan base. On July 24, 2008, Lights released her EP, Lights. The 6-track EP featured three singles, “Drive My Soul”, “February Air”, and “Ice.” “February Air” was used in a popular TV commercial that drove a lot of fans to the new artist.

The Listening was released on September 22, 2009, through Sire Records and Warner Music Group. Each of the 16-tracks on the album provides a combination of pop, electronic, and alternative rock together. Most tracks like “Saviour” and “Lions!” are catchy pop tunes with electro feels to them. Lights made a feature on the song “Every Day” by Ten Second Epic. She also appeared on the soundtrack of the film One Week in “Climbing” and “Ben.” For most of 2010 Lights toured with the artist Owl City throughout Canada, America, and Europe.

On July 20, 2010, the artist released her EP, Acoustic. The stripped down project focused more on Lights’ vocals and the messages behind the music. In 6-tracks, Lights showed fans and critics that she was more than the pop emphasis people were used to. After the release, Lights featured as a vocalist in several songs with the rock band Bring Me The Horizon and the musician The Secret Handshake. Siberia was released on October 4, 2011. The standard version includes 14-songs on it, but with the deluxe version, Siberia has 18-tracks. Lights joined forces with artists Holy F*ck and Shad on two tracks. While mostly pop, Lights takes on a heavier feel in the album with some dubstep and EDM beats. Lead single “Everybody Breaks a Glass” captured listener attention to peak on Billboard charts with sales.

Two years later in April 2013, Lights release Siberia Acoustic. The album reworked songs from Siberia and used less production. Listeners focus on the message behind the music of Siberia. Much like Acoustic, Siberia Acoustic gave people the chance to appreciate Lights for her raw talent. Little Machines was released on September 19, 2014. With 14-tracks and four singles, the album focuses on the electro-pop sound that the core of her fans seem to enjoy. Lights’ soft vocals are mixed with dance grooves and catchy melodies. Little Machines shows the maturity of Lights as a musician without taking away from anything she’s done already. In April 2016, Midnight Machines was released as the remade acoustic version of Little Machines.

In July 2017, Lights began releasing content for her upcoming album. With each release of a song, there would be a comic book that went along with it. Lights released the studio album Skin&Earth on September 22, 2017. Within the 14-tracks, Lights plays off of the softness of her voice while singing over pop music. The lead single, “Giants” gathered millions of streams. It was also released in Spanish, French, and Tagalog. In what became the creative norm for Lights, she released an acoustic version of the album titled Skin&Earth Acoustic on July 12, 2019.  

Lights recently teamed up with artist i_o for the project AM 444 and MYTH for the project Dead End. Fans can make out Lights’ vocals through progressive synths and beats. Lights has shown that she is an artist that isn’t afraid to step outside of the norm to create music. Her distinct pop style layered with electronic production creates a pathway for musical success in the EDM space. However, fans of Lights can enjoy her range from heavy synth-pop and EDM to stripped down acoustic music.

Written by: Carlton Rolle

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