Born Valerie Poxleitner in 1987 in Timmins, Ontario, Lights spent much of her childhood traveling alongside her missionary parents. Her father taught her how to play guitar and she began writing her own songs at a young age, sometimes drawing upon verses from the Bible for inspiration. At the age of 18, she embarked on her professional career, penning songs for Sony/ATV Music Publishing. Soon after, she began playing shows and eventually landed a contract with the Toronto-based punk label Underground Operations. An American partnership with Doghouse Records followed, and in April 2008, she released her self-titled Lights EP. Several singles found a warm reception on Canadian radio, as well as MuchMusic's TV countdown.
The following year, Lights garnered yet more attention after winning the Juno Award for New Artist of the Year. She also landed a spot on that summer's Warped Tour, all the while preparing her debut album, The Listening, which was released in October 2009. The album peaked at number seven on the Canadian albums chart and eventually achieved gold status. In 2011, Lights returned with her sophomore full-length album, Siberia. Produced with Brian Borcherdt and Graham Walsh of Toronto's indie electronic ensemble Holy Fuck, the album showcased a mature, sonically sophisticated sound. Two years later, Lights delivered Siberia Acoustic, which featured her performing reworked acoustic versions of songs off Siberia.
Lights' third studio album, Little Machines, appeared in 2014. Recorded while she was pregnant with her first child with husband and blessthefall lead singer Beau Bokan, the album showcased her return to a more melodic if no less electronic-inclined sound. The album debuted at number five in Canada and won the 2015 Juno Award for Pop Album of the Year. As she did with Siberia, Lights followed Little Machines with the acoustic album Midnight Machines.
In 2017, she returned with her fourth studio album, Skin Earth, featuring the singles "Giants" and "Savage," the latter of which featured Twenty One Pilots drummer Josh Dun. A multi-media concept album centering on a female protagonist in a post-apocalyptic world, Skin Earth was accompanied by a comic book written and drawn by Lights. An instrumental synthwave album, How to Sleep When You're on Fire, arrived in June 2020 with all proceeds going to support the Black Lives Matter movement. 2022's Pep was her Fueled by Ramen debut, a move that found her embracing an assured, feminist point of view, as well as a robust, rock-influenced sound. ~ Matt Collar, Rovi
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