With big things happening for her, River Online catches up with Canadian songstress LIGHTS.
While grabbing gold records and smashing the charts over the pond, LIGHTS has been building a loyal fan base in the UK with every tour.
Rising to fame on Myspace back in the heady days of 2007, singer-songwriter, Valerie Anne Poxleitner, shot to fame on the internet with her debut single, Drive My Soul.
Before her gig at the Islington O2, the only UK date of her European tour, J.J. Nattrass sat down with the electro-pop siren.
Usually she plays to crowds of 800 plus, like tonight, but that’s not to say she doesn’t enjoy the simple charms of a small venue.
Genuinely looking enthused she says: “Going back to all these 16-track clubs – you’re shoulder to shoulder with the crowd - it reminds you that you can still have a good show without all the smoke and lights.”
Earlier this year she played an intimate acoustic set at Banquet Records, before playing at New Slang club night on the same day.
Explaining the difference between the two, she reveals why she preferred her Banquet gig: “That’s when you get to be up close and personal; I think I was standing up on a counter, and that was awesome. They took my picture and put it up behind the counter.
“I liked Kingston,” she says, “The show was weird but I liked Kingston. The people were cool and that acoustic gig was awesome.
“I’ll have to come back and check it all out again.”
LIGHTS experienced both the highs and lows of our corner of London all in one day.
She says: “The show [at Hippodrome] was definitely the low point of the tour.
“That was a weird show, the weirdest one of the tour. The venue was weird – really big – but a weird place for a show.”
Her Banquet gig, however, she remembers fondly with a smile on her face.
She says, “The winner of that day was the acoustic show. The line was up round the corner and that surprised me.”
About the reception of her latest album, Siberia, she says: “It’s been great. I think it’s been received even better than the first one.”
LIGHTS listened to a lot of dubstep while writing it, which influenced the sound of the album.
She seems to think this could be one reason why it’s going down so well over here.
“From my experience so far, I think far that people are enjoying it. The touring now has been better than it ever was!
“I think the British people like something that’s less perfect sounding. I think there’s something to be said for a bit of imperfection in electronic music.
“Some of the elements that I think dubstep brought to electronic, like the way that the chorus drops and doesn’t pop, the gritty base and things like that moved me when I was creating the record.”
Laughing, she’s quick to add: “That’s not to say the UK only likes dubstep at all!”
The video for her first single off the new album, Banner, has clocked up nearly 1.5 million views on Youtube, but it’s not her favourite song.
If she had her own way, Flux and Flow, would have been the first single, but because it’s not a one-woman show anymore, the radio-friendly, Banner, was chosen instead.
She says: “It’s got to be a team effort, in this day and age, but if it was one man calling the shots then it would be a very self-indulgent career.”
I confess to her my favourite song of hers is her acoustic cover of Rancid’s Fall Back Down - and after scolding me for not picking one she wrote herself - she actually shares the story of how it came to be.
She says: “I used to work in a music store when I was a teenager.
“When I started collecting and producing records there was a rotation of three records playing there: Ambulance Limited, Rancid and Maroon 5 or something.
“That Rancid record always played and that song always stuck out to me and got me through a lot in high-school, so yeah, it has a big place in my heart.”
In recent years she’s been drafted by the likes of Bring Me the Horizon and Architects.
Working with Ollie Sykes & co. on their smash hit album, There Is a Hell, Believe Me, I've Seen It. There Is a Heaven, Let's Keep It a Secret.
She says: “Things like that only add fuel to the fire,” swinging side to side on her office chair. “My name was never on the Bring Me album, but a lot of people said they had to use some research to find out it was me, either way I think it makes a big difference.
“All those little things, people finding you in different genres, and different angles; I call them sparks.”
The honeymoon is far from over as we talk about her tying the knot.
She says: “It’s great! It’s awesome!”
“I think nothing outwardly changes, but something inside gets easier, because maintaining a relationship in this lifestyle is pretty challenging.
“People will say ‘why are you getting married? Its going to be so much harder’, and it actually makes things easier.”
She says: “It’s more sure, more defined and you understand your relationship with each other a lot more. It’s been awesome, probably the best decision I’ve ever made.”
As good as it is, maintaining a long-distance relationship has its challenges, but LIGHTS feels it’s not all bad.
She explains: “The hardest thing is obviously missing someone and not being able to be with them, and when you love someone you want to be with them.
“But there are advantages and you have to take everything for what it is, and the reality is you’re not together, so you take the good things from it; one good thing is communication.
“The only way to make your relationship work is communication, which is a complete advantage. I think it’s one that people take for granted of when they’re together all the time.
“They don’t actually end up talking about things that they need to talk about, because you’re right with each other, and you can just do things and let it slide.
“But when your only option is talking to each other then you have to work things out, and you have to communicate.”
Still she genuinely believes that the long distances and blocks of time apart they often have to endure makes their relationship work exactly how they want it to.
“One thing is it always ignites the flame.
“Every time you’re back together it’s exciting and new and I feel fortunate to have that. I think you have to take the pros with cons.”
With that in mind, it’s easy to see why when I ask her about her must have kit on tour, top of the list is a mobile phone.
Click images to enlarge
Album art from Siberia
Image courtesy of: Jian Ghomeshi Productions Inc
Image courtesy of: Jian Ghomeshi Productions Inc
image courtesy of: LIGHTS (official) Facebook
Image courtesy of: J.J. Nattrass