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Lights: Inner Nerd Meets Adorable Pop Singer

How often do you open a conversation with a girl by talking about your collection of comic books? To most, this would seem like social suicide, with you driving the bus. The only way this mistake could be avoided is if the woman you are talking to is Canadian singer and producer Lights. Among her many attributes, Lights enjoys collecting comics, drawing her own comics, singing, learning new instruments, and producing. You must be saying the same thing I am: dream girl?

Taking a large chunk out of my week, I was able to sit down for an interview with Lights, as well as check her EP and finally her latest concert at Webster Theatre in Hartford, Connecticut. From the beginning, I was pretty blown away. The self-titled EP consists of six songs, including some huge hits in the waiting. The thing that stands out immediately is the production quality, credited to Lights and producers including Tawgs and Dave “Dwave” Thomson. Songs like “Ice” and “February Air” could be huge hits in club circuits, as well as on the charts.

Of course, the question is how this adorable, comic book-loving girl got into music in the first place. “I was home-schooled up until high school because we moved a lot. One day of every week, my dad would take over teaching me, and that was the day we got to learn music. We didn’t have to do math and science, and I guess that instilled a passion for music early on.” She got her first guitar at age 11 and her first eight-track at age 13, as she put together her first demo. “I was fortunate enough to get started early and get all the crappy ideas out when it didn’t really matter.”

One song from the EP that really stood out as a solid second single from the album was “February Air.” This song combines a lot of aspects of a great song — the top elements being a strong vocal performance and amazing production quality. Think about how catchy MGMT’s singles were when you first heard them. This song could stick just like those did. “’February Air,’ I was drawing from a pretty emotional situation. I was away from home for a week, just working with getting a publishing deal. I was in Toronto in February. It was Valentine’s Day and I was all by myself; I didn’t have any friends, I didn’t know anybody in the big city, and it was freezing! I was sitting in my hotel room and that song just came out and spun out of this moment of intense loneliness. It was what I wanted to say to somebody but there was nobody there to say it to, so I had to say it to my song.”

Lights’s live performance is just as solid as the EP. The show maintains a level of really light-hearted fun while performing future hit songs. Among the most comical moments of the show was Lights pulling a Connecticut resident up on stage and have a paper airplane-throwing contest. Unfortunately, Lights did not win, but it’s safe to say that was the worst thing that happened to her during the show. Performing songs such as “The Last Thing on Your Mind” and “Drive My Soul,” the group also mixed in a variety of new songs to be released on upcoming albums. Although the show at Webster Theatre was dominated by guys and girls from the 14-20 demographic, Lights never considers her audience when writing. “…You can’t write for anyone but yourself, and so I write what I need to hear, and if someone doesn’t like it, I know that’s okay…”

Although this Canadian loves playing to her home crowds, getting on the road to the States is important. She noted Salt Lake City and Los Angeles as some of her favorite cities; of course, that was before her awesome show in Hartford. Lights has shared the stage with artists such as Copeland, and hopes, in the future, to tour with artists that she “wouldn’t fit with at all…” such as Justice or Kanye West. Personally, I can definitely see Lights as an opener for Kanye because they share one very strong quality — awesome production ability.

I was told that if I can “leave with a smile on my face,” then it’s been a good show, and I will admit there was a smile when I walked to my car that evening. For Lights, it’s a great time — all of her passions are melding together and being exposed in her music. Her album cover is original artwork, and her dream to be an astronaut came true (at least in her latest music video for “February Air”). Although she hopes to eventually become a producer, it’s safe to say that there is a career in music for this proud Canadian.

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