Open main menu

Lights (musician)

Lights Poxleitner-Bokan (born Valerie Anne Poxleitner; April 11, 1987), known mononymously as Lights (previously stylized as LIGHTS), is a Canadian musician, singer, songwriter, author, and illustrator. She is known for her gold-certified albums The Listening and Siberia[4] as well as singles "Drive My Soul", "February Air", "Ice", "Second Go", "Toes", and "Up We Go". She released her fourth studio album, Skin & Earth, in 2017 accompanied by a graphic novel of the same name.

Lights 09 20 2017 -5 (37009966944).jpg
Lights performing in 2017
Valerie Anne Poxleitner

(1987-04-11) April 11, 1987 (age 32)
ResidenceToronto, Ontario, Canada
  • Musician
  • singer
  • songwriter
  • illustrator
  • author
Years active2006–present
Musical career
  • Vocals
  • synthesizer
  • keytar
  • guitar
  • piano
Associated actsArtists Against Bullying

Bring Me The Horizon Josh Dun

Jennie McPhee

Lights was awarded the 2009 Juno Award for New Artist of the Year.[5][6] and two 2009 Astral Media Radio awards during Canadian Music Week.[7][8]

Early lifeEdit

Lights was born Valerie Anne Poxleitner in Timmins, Ontario, to missionary parents, Virginia and Eric Poxleitner. She has one older sister, Jess.[9] She spent her childhood in many parts of the world, including the Philippines, Jamaica, Ontario, and British Columbia. She moved to Toronto at the age of 18 when she legally changed her name to Lights. She got the nickname "Lights" from her last name Poxleitner. As there was already a signed band named "Lights", having her name officially changed was a way to use it despite prior use.[10][11][12][13]

Music careerEdit

2006–07: Musical beginningsEdit

In high school, Lights played guitar and sang in the metal band Shovel Face. She set up a page on Myspace, accumulating a following. She began writing for Sony/ATV Music Publishing,[14] and composed music for the television series Instant Star.[15] She and Luke McMaster are credited with composing "Perfect," sung in the role of Jude Harrison on the show by Alexz Johnson.

In 2007, she contracted with Jian Ghomeshi, who acted as her manager until late 2014.[11]

2008–09: Lights and The ListeningEdit

Starting in early 2008, Lights toured cities in the Great Lakes region, in both Canada and the United States. Around the same time, her song "Drive My Soul" rose to No.18 in the Canadian Hot 100.[16] In late 2008, she toured the United States.[17]

In August 2008, Lights signed a record deal with Toronto-based label Underground Operations. She also signed an American partnership deal with Warner Bros. along with Doghouse Records.[18] Her EP was released in stores in September. Her second single, "February Air," which had been used in a commercial for Old Navy in early 2008,[10][19] released in December and sold about 12,000 copies.

Lights contributed vocals in Ten Second Epic's song "Every Day" and appeared in their music video. The song appeared on the Big Shiny Tunes 14 compilation album and the music video was nominated for Best Independent Music Video at the 2010 MuchMusic Video Awards. She is also featured on the soundtrack (songs "Ben" and "Climbing") for the 2008 Canadian film One Week, starring Joshua Jackson. She was a guest vocalist on the album A Shipwreck in the Sand, released in 2009 by post-hardcore band Silverstein from Burlington, Ontario.

In 2009, Lights released her third single to Canadian radio stations called "Ice" with a homemade video released on her MySpace. She also released a second video for "Ice" in Canada on November 10, 2009. It was released in the United States on November 11, 2009. On August 10, 2009, her music video for "Saviour" was released.[20]

In March, Lights was named on the American music website Shred News's 10 Artists to Watch in 2010.[21]

While touring in the summer on the 2009 Vans Warped Tour, Lights's single "Saviour" premiered on Canadian radio stations on July 6, 2009. The song is from her first full-length album, The Listening, which was released on September 22 in Canada.[22] It was released on October 6 in the United States after she left Underground Operations for her own record label, Lights Music Inc. The cover for the album was also released. According to Lights, the entire artwork was inspired by Watchmen, 28 Days Later, and Sailor Moon.[23]

In September 2009, Lights toured with the British band Keane on their Canadian/Pacific Northwest tour.[20] In late 2009, Lights toured all around the United States and Canada with Stars of Track and Field.

2010–2013: Acoustic EP, Siberia, Siberia Acoustic, and tourEdit

Lights performing in Toronto, 2010

Lights toured during January–May 2010 with contemporary synthpop artist Owl City in Canada, the United States, and Europe. She was featured on Owl City's song "The Yacht Club" on the 2011 album All Things Bright and Beautiful, and appeared in the music video for their song "Deer in the Headlights." She went on a two-week solo UK tour in May 2010 being supported by fellow Canadian artist Rich Aucoin for most of her shows. Additionally, Lights was a special guest for pop-rock band Hedley's The Show Must Go... On The Road Tour, as well as These Kids Wear Crowns.

Lights released an acoustic EP titled Acoustic[24] in July 2010. Her debut for the album was at the University of Waterloo, where she had received most of her inspiration for the album. That same month, she began her six-date tour around the US, performing her songs acoustically. In September, she toured with Hedley for eight dates on the Ontario leg of their Canadian tour. In October 2010, Bring Me The Horizon's album There Is a Hell Believe Me I've Seen It. There Is a Heaven Let's Keep It a Secret featured Lights as a guest vocalist on the songs "Crucify Me" and "Don't Go."[25] She is also featured on The Secret Handshake's song "Used to be Sweet" from their album Night and Day.[26]

Lights performing at King Tut's Wah Wah Hut, May 20, 2010

In October 2010, Lights released "My Boots." She also left on her headlining tour with Jeremy Fisher.[27]

At the June 2011 Utopia Music Festival, Lights performed three new songs, "Toes", "Where the Fence is Low," and "Everybody Breaks a Glass." The single "Toes" was released in August as the first single to Lights' second studio album, Siberia. Lights signed with Last Gang Records; concerns by the label executives about her shift in style to a more gritty sound caused delay in the release of the album, but it was eventually released online in the US and Canada on October 4 and later that month in iTunes stores in Australia. Siberia received positive reviews and was nominated for a Juno Award for Best Pop Album of the Year.[28] Lights said in an interview that her favorite song on Siberia was "Flux and Flow."[29]

In March 2013, Lights released an acoustic version of "Cactus in the Valley", featuring Owl City, as a single in the UK.[30]

Siberia Acoustic, was released in April 2013, and reached Number 7 in Canada. She toured around North America in support of the album,[31] with Dear Rouge opening some dates and Lianne La Havas opening others.[32]

2014–2016: Little MachinesEdit

LIGHTS live at the NorVA 2015

In July 2014, Lights' album, Little Machines, became available for pre-order on iTunes with its lead single, "Up We Go", available to download. The album was released on September 23 in the US and Canada.[33] "Running with the Boys" received radio play early 2015 as the second official single, while "Portal" and "Same Sea" received promotional releases.

In September 2014 the music video for "Up We Go" was released.[34] This video was filmed all in one take and currently has more than 3.3 million views. In October, Lights parted ways with her long-time manager Jian Ghomeshi.

In 2015 the artist continued touring extensively in venues such as Old National Centre in Indianapolis in support of the album. That year she began work on an EP titled "Midnight Machines".; it was released on April 8, 2016 and included six tracks from Little Machines, as well as two new songs called "Follow You Down" and "Head Cold."[35]

Avatars of Lights with her band and her songs "Same Sea" and "Up We Go" were featured in the 2016 video game "LOUD on Planet X".[36]

2017–present: Skin & EarthEdit

In April 2017, Lights announced the forthcoming release of her fourth studio album, Skin & Earth.[37] A comic book series designed by the singer accompanied the release of the record, with the first edition published in July 2017. New music was released with each edition on a monthly basis until the album was released in full.[37] On May 28, Lights released a snippet of the first single on an online map of the world in her comic's Instagram account.[38][citation needed] On June 8 she released a second snippet of the song, and revealed the title, "Giants", on June 15. "Giants" and its accompanying music video were released on June 23.[39] The song peaked at number eighteen on the Billboard Adult Top 40 chart.[40] On July 14, Lights released a promotional single from the album, titled "Skydiving".[41] The album was made available for pre-orders on August 11, 2017, and was released on September 22, 2017.[42] Lights released the song "Savage" on August 11, 2017,[43] followed by "New Fears" on September 15, 2017. The album track "Fight Club" is featured in the game Just Dance 2018, released in October.[44] On November 7, Lights announced the "We Were Here Tour" with Chase Atlantic, Dear Rouge and DCF.[45] In January 2018, Lights embarked on the tour across North America, where she played 46 shows, in support of the album.[46] On February 2, 2018, Lights released the music video for her song "We Were Here".[47] She joined Young the Giant's fall tour in October as the supporting act.[48]

In November 2018, Lights collaborated with Deadmau5 on his track "Drama Free",[49] which was released on his Mau5ville: Level 2 EP on November 16. In February 2019, Lights collaborated with Felix Cartal on a track "Love Me".[50] In March 2019, Lights collaborated with Sleepy Tom on a track "Amateurs".[51]

On May 12, 2019, it was announced that she had signed to Fueled by Ramen; in-conjunction, the release of Skin&Earth Acoustic was announced, as well as a North American concert tour.[52]


Lights won Indie Awards in the Favourite Solo Artist and Astral Media Radio Favourite Single categories during Canadian Music Week in March 2009 in Toronto.[7] She won the Best New Artist Awards in the Hot AC and CHR categories.[8] All awards were for her debut single "Drive My Soul," except the award for Favourite Solo Artist.

She also won New Artist Of The Year at the 2009 Juno Awards.[53]

In 2010, she was nominated in the Indie Awards for "Video of the Year" (Drive My Soul), "Pop Artist of the Year,"[54] and in the Juno Awards for "Pop Album of the Year" (The Listening).[55]

In November 2010, her debut album The Listening was given a gold certification by the Canadian Recording Industry Association for sales of 40,000 units.[4] The certification trophy was presented during her Toronto concert on November 18, 2010.

In February 2012, her album Siberia was nominated for a Juno Award in "Pop Album of the Year" Category.[56]

In March 2015, her album Little Machines won the Juno Award for "Pop Album of the Year".[57]

In March 2018, her album Skin & Earth won the Juno award for "Pop Album of the Year".[58]

Personal lifeEdit

Lights was introduced to Beau Bokan, the lead vocalist of metalcore band Blessthefall, at a Taking Back Sunday concert in Los Angeles, and the two quickly started dating. After becoming engaged in September 2011,[59] they were married on May 12, 2012, and Lights added "Bokan" to her last name (now stylised as Poxleitner-Bokan).[60] On November 4, 2013, the couple announced that they were expecting their first child.[61] Lights gave birth to their daughter, Rocket Wild Bokan, on February 15, 2014.[62][63]

In an interview with People magazine in 2017, Lights came out as bisexual.[64]


Studio albums


  • Skin&Earth: Volume one (2018)


Year Title Role Notes
2011 Epic Meal Time Herself Episode: "Fast Food Meatloaf (And LIGHTS is here too)"
2018 Talking Dead Herself 5/20/18 S7 Ep21 "Fear the Walking Dead 406"

Music videosEdit

Year Title Artist(s)
2011 Deer in the Headlights Owl City


  1. ^ Collar, Matt. "Lights - Little Machines". AllMusic. Retrieved October 11, 2016.
  2. ^ Faulkner, Brent. "Lights: Siberia Acoustic". PopMatters. Retrieved August 6, 2014.
  3. ^ a b Faulkner, Brent. "Lights: Siberia Acoustic". PopMatters. Retrieved March 29, 2017.
  4. ^ a b "Audio & Video Certifications". Canadian Recording Industry Association. October 2010. Archived from the original on October 29, 2013. Retrieved December 4, 2010.
  5. ^ Lyonnais, Sheena (February 23, 2009). "Lights Proves Breakout-Ready". Retrieved April 6, 2009.
  6. ^ Collar, Matt. "Review: The Listening". AllMusic. Retrieved January 22, 2011.
  7. ^ a b "2009 Nominees/Winners". Indies. Canadian Music Week. Retrieved January 13, 2012.
  8. ^ a b "Canadian Radio Music Awards". Canadian Music Week. March 13, 2009. Archived from the original on January 30, 2009. Retrieved March 19, 2009.
  9. ^ Sterdan, Darryl (September 9, 2011). "Lights out to tour Canada". Jam! CANOE. Retrieved September 25, 2011.
  10. ^ a b Sheena Lyonnais (March 10, 2008). "Lights makes us happy". Toronto Music Scene – Indie News + Interviews. Archived from the original on May 12, 2008.
  11. ^ a b Verner, Amy (March 25, 2009). "A career clocked at lightning speed". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved November 28, 2014.
  12. ^ Stevenson, Jane (October 22, 2009). "Small-town girl follows Lights". Jam!/Sun Media. Archived from the original on May 24, 2012. Retrieved May 17, 2010.
  13. ^ Young, Kevin. "Looking Into Lights". Canadian Musician. Archived from the original on November 29, 2010.
  14. ^ "ACE Title Search". ASCAP. Retrieved September 9, 2009. Search for Lights as performer.
  15. ^ "Writing music for Instant Star". Toronto Star. August 28, 2007. Retrieved February 1, 2014.
  16. ^ "Canadian Hot 100". Archived from the original on April 17, 2005. Retrieved November 3, 2008.
  17. ^ Brian Pascual (June 23, 2008). "Lights Finally Finds The Right Phase". Toronto: Chart Communications, Inc. Archived from the original on March 10, 2010. Retrieved December 29, 2008.
  18. ^ "Warner Bros. Records Partners with Doghouse to Sign Electro-Pop Artist LIGHTS Label..." Reuters. September 15, 2008. Retrieved October 14, 2010.
  19. ^ High, Kamau (May 24, 2008). "Old Navy Tunes In". Billboard. p. 12.
  20. ^ a b Brunet, Stéphane (September 20, 2009). "Interview • Lumières sur Lights (oh oh)" (in French). Hall Musique. Retrieved September 20, 2009.
  21. ^ "Ten Artists To Watch In 2010 Part 1 |". March 12, 2010. Retrieved January 31, 2011.
  22. ^ Marcus, Bianca (August 12, 2009). "LIGHTS Release Date Set". Chart. Archived from the original on September 18, 2009. Retrieved September 9, 2009.
  23. ^ "LIGHTS @ Warped Tour (Updated with Audio)". Eggplante!.
  24. ^ "Acoustic – EP by Lights – Download Acoustic – EP on iTunes". iTunes Store. July 16, 2010. Retrieved January 31, 2011.
  25. ^ "Bring Me The Horizon's 'There Is A Hell' Cracks U.S. Top 20". October 13, 2010. Archived from the original on September 11, 2012. Retrieved March 29, 2010.
  26. ^ "The Secret Handshake announces fall headlining tour". Altsounds. October 13, 2010. Archived from the original on December 24, 2013. Retrieved April 13, 2011.
  27. ^ "Lights Releases New Single In Time For Fall Tour". Rockstar Weekly. October 13, 2010. Archived from the original on July 24, 2011. Retrieved October 14, 2010.
  28. ^ "LIGHTS 'SIBERIA' – JUNO AWARD WINNING SONGSTRESS TO RELEASE SOPHOMORE ALBUM IN AUSTRALIA OCTOBER 28". Archived from the original on April 25, 2012. Retrieved February 1, 2014.
  29. ^ Smith, Caitlin (October 18, 2011). "Interview: LIGHTS". The Sound Alarm. Archived from the original on April 2, 2015. Retrieved December 3, 2011.
  30. ^ "Cactus in the Valley (Acoustic) – Single by Lights". iTunes. Apple. Retrieved June 14, 2013.
  31. ^ "LIGHTS Announces Release Date, Tracklisting, Tour Dates For "Siberia Acoustic" | Neon Limelight - Exclusive Music News, Artist Interviews, Reviews, Photos!". Neon Limelight. March 4, 2013. Retrieved February 1, 2014.
  32. ^ "Lights Siberia Acoustic Tour Vancouver photos". Retrieved February 1, 2014.
  33. ^ "LIGHTS announces new album, 'Little Machines;' streams lead single - News - Alternative Press". Alternative Press. Retrieved September 5, 2017.
  34. ^ "LIGHTS' "Up We Go" Video: Watch The Charming Elevator-Set Romp - idolator". idolator. September 3, 2014. Retrieved September 5, 2017.
  35. ^ "Lights announces new acoustic album 'Midnight Machines' - News - Alternative Press". Alternative Press. Retrieved September 5, 2017.
  36. ^ "LOUD On Planet X | Lights". Lights. May 6, 2015. Retrieved September 5, 2017.
  37. ^ a b Russell, Egrica (April 18, 2017). "Lights Announces New Post-Apocalyptic Concept Album, 'Skin&Earth'". Popcrush. Retrieved April 18, 2017.
  38. ^ "Instagram post by Nasty Back Alley • May 28, 2017 at 6:16am UTC". Instagram. Retrieved September 5, 2017.
  39. ^ Tan, Emily. "Lights Brings Comic Book Dreams to Life in 'Giants' Video". PopCrush. Retrieved June 26, 2017.
  40. ^ "Lights Chart History". Billboard. Retrieved 12 March 2018.
  41. ^ "Lights Dives into Her Comic Book Pages with 'Skydiving' Video". Retrieved October 25, 2017.
  42. ^ "Skin&Earth by Lights on Apple Music". Apple Music. Retrieved August 11, 2017.
  43. ^ Russell, Erica. "Lights Is 'Savage' on Gritty New Track Off 'Skin&Earth'". PopCrush. Retrieved August 15, 2017.
  44. ^ "Just Dance 2018". Retrieved 2018-04-11.
  45. ^ "Lights (@lights) • Instagram photos and videos". Retrieved 2018-04-11.
  46. ^ Amiri, Hamed. "Lights To Kick Off "We Were Here Tour" With Back-to-Back Shows In Vancouver". 604 Now. Retrieved 30 January 2018.
  47. ^ "Watch Light's Thrilling New Music Video for We Were Here". Retrieved 5 February 2018.
  48. ^ "Young The Giant And Lights Announce North American Tour". Retrieved 6 November 2018.
  49. ^ Yopko, Nick. "The Music Video for deadmau5 and Lights' "Drama Free" Might be the Most Bizarre Video of the Year". - The Latest Electronic Dance Music News, Reviews & Artists. Retrieved 15 May 2019.
  50. ^ Ginsberg, Gab. "Felix Cartal & LIGHTS Unite for the Sparkling 'Love Me': Listen". Billboard. Retrieved 15 May 2019.
  51. ^ Acevedo, Angelica. "Sleepy Tom & Lights Release '80s-Inspired Video Game in Celebration Of 'Amateurs': Exclusive". Billboard. Retrieved 15 May 2019.
  52. ^ Kaufman, Gil (May 14, 2019). "Lights Signs to Fueled By Ramen, Announces Skin&Earth Acoustic Album & Debuts First Track: Exclusive". Billboard. United States: Eldridge Industries. Retrieved May 14, 2019.
  53. ^ "Artist Summary | The JUNO Awards". Archived from the original on February 2, 2014. Retrieved February 1, 2014.
  54. ^ "Nominees / Winners – INDIES". Archived from the original on January 15, 2011. Retrieved January 31, 2011.
  55. ^ "JUNO Awards: Nominees". Retrieved January 31, 2011.
  56. ^ 2012 "Pop Album of the Year 2012" Archived February 20, 2013, at WebCite Juno Awards website
  57. ^ "Junos 2015: Full list of award winners, from single of the year to best album". National Post. Retrieved February 13, 2017.
  58. ^ "Junos 2018: the complete list of winners". CBC News, · March 25, 2018
  59. ^ Stevenson, Jane (November 11, 2011). "Singer Lights has a bright future". Toronto Sun. Retrieved January 13, 2012.
  60. ^ "Beau Bokan & Lights Officially Married". May 12, 2012. Archived from the original on July 17, 2012. Retrieved May 13, 2012.
  61. ^ Obenschain, Philip (November 4, 2013). "Lights and Beau Bokan Announce First Child". Alternative Press. Retrieved November 5, 2013.
  62. ^ "LIGHTS and Beau Bokan Welcome New Baby Girl: Rocket Wild Bokan". February 16, 2014. Retrieved February 16, 2014.
  63. ^ Ostroff, Joshua (October 23, 2014). "Becoming A Mom Made Lights A Better Pop Star". HuffPost. Retrieved October 28, 2014.
  64. ^ "Pop Star Lights Says New Album Helped Her Explore Her Sexuality, Address Battle with Depression".

External linksEdit