Juno winner releases new album
Midtown electro-pop artist Lights is back by Darcy Streitenfeld
With her shock of fiery hair and a voice that doesn’t quit, it’s hard not to take notice of Lights. The Canadian electro-pop songbird’s 2014 album was a tour de force, garnering endless accolades and a Juno to top it all off. We caught up with the multitalented musician in the days prior to her fourth studio release, a concept album titled
All summer long, Lights (real name: Valerie Poxleitner) slowly fed her fans a gritty, postapocalyptic, six-part comic series that culminated with the release of the album on Sept. 22. The immersive, multimedia experience produced by this dual release marks an unprecedented level of creative output for Lights.
Since relocating from Toronto to Mission, B.C., the singer has undergone a three-year period of immense growth. Lights attributes much of this evolution of spirit and artistry to the birth of her first child, Rocket Wild, with husband Beau Bokan.
“I have never owned my creative power, my sexuality and my career more, since becoming a parent. It’s a degree of liberation you get from stripping away narcissism. My world has never opened up the way it has since I was a mother,” Lights says.
The new record keeps true to Lights’ electro-alt pop origins. However, boasts songs with a slightly edgier and more controlled approach, offering a sophisticated sound unmatched by previous efforts from the artist. The singer-songwriter attributes this shift in sound to the medium of a concept album — in singing not as herself, but as the lead character of her comic.
“Singing through the lens of a character allows a degree of separation lyrically,” she says.
Lights picked up a guitar at a young age and kicked off her professional music career in 2007. Since then, she’s earned $200,000 in U.S. album sales, picked up two Juno Awards and secured a dedicated fan base. She’s toured the globe performing for those fans and is currently hitting venues across the U.S. When performing, the singer-songwriter is known to switch it up between the guitar and the keyboard.
When it comes to the illustration portion of this Skin&Earth, Lights began her journey to comic book artist in 2016. In the end, she wrote, drew, inked and formatted each page of the Skin&Earth series. Each page took 10 hours.
The comic series is a postapocalyptic narrative that follows a scarlet-haired character who searches for hope in a world devoid of it. The heroine navigates a bleak landscape, overrun by corporate greed and extreme classism.
Above all, the universal message of Lights’ tandem album and comic series release is one of perseverance. Both in the story and in her life, Lights worked hard and persevered to create something she is truly proud of.
The latest release from the Canadian artist includes a self-drawn comic series