The Music of Lights

Since bursting onto the Canadian music scene in 2008, electro-rock artist Lights Poxleitner, perhaps best known by her first name only, has been making a name for herself at home and abroad.

Though her beginnings were rooted in writing songs for others, her do-it-yourself spirit and self-reliance have propelled her career. She won the 2008 Juno Award for Best New Artist while her full-length debut The Listening achieved Gold status in Canada.

Lights most recent record, Siberia, was released last year in Canada and sees the artist continue to explore and evolve her sound. With Siberia, Lights stays true to her electronic roots while also managing to delve into more experimental territory, making for an ultimately exciting and fulfilling listen.

Lights will perform at Moncton’s Capitol Theatre on Saturday night. The show begins at 8 p.m.

Lights says that even in the earliest stages of her career, her staunch independent attitude and belief that no one knows her better than she knows herself has been a cornerstone behind her music.

“One of the biggest things that has driven me is my vision for my work,” Lights told The Times & Transcript earlier this week. “I really have a sense of what my music is and who I am as an artist and the way I want to put myself out there for the world.”

While it is obvious that the musician knows how to go about getting what she wants from her music, she also credits her management team in helping her ensure that her vision is not compromised along the way.

“My manager, Jian Ghomeshi, and I have been working together for 10 years now and he is always willing to go to battle for me so that I can see my career evolve in the way that I see fit. I am so blessed to have a manager like him.”

Her decision to paint with a different brush for the making of Siberia was no accident, Lights says. Choosing to expanding upon her vision and sound and choosing to not deliver the same record time and time again is something that she takes very seriously.

“The beauty of making new records is expanding upon your sound and trying new things,” she says. “It is almost like reinventing yourself with each record; I believe that I would quickly become bored if I were to make the same record every time I were to put something new out. With each record, I believe that you get better at what you do every time and that lends itself to the next record.”

Co-produced by electronic musicians (and fellow Canadians) Brian Borcherdt and Graham Walsh, Lights speaks highly of her collaborators on Siberia. She was attracted to the duo in large part due to their ability to make music that she felt was “the complete antithesis to pop music.

“It is not to say that the music that Brian and Graham create isn’t catchy or beautiful. They simply make music for the right reasons. I knew I had wanted to make a record that had a little more grit to it and was a little less perfect than The Listening was. With Siberia, I wanted to shake things up a little bit and turn this perfect electro music that I had been making on its end and I felt as though Brian and Graham were the perfect guys to help me achieve that vision.”

While the excitement of talking about the making of Siberia is clear in her voice, not everyone greeted the album with such enthusiasm. Lights record label for territories outside of Canada ultimately passed on releasing Siberia, forcing her to release the album independently for the world outside of Canada.

“I am very fortunate to have a great record label here in Canada but when it came to the label responsible for putting my music out elsewhere in the world, there was a difference of opinion on where we wanted the second record to go,” she shares. “I knew that it was a great record and one that I was very proud of. Forgoing the label dollars and sticking to my guns was very important to me for this record.”

Article published in the January 20, 2012 edition of the Times & Transcript