Since the release of her debut album The Listening back in 2009, Lights has stolen the hearts of Canadians with her continuously innovative music. Since her last album release, Siberia, she has stepped into the realm of motherhood and marriage, which has developed her even further as an artist and has set into motion the making of a new and highly anticipated album.
During SCENE Fest 2014 in St. Catharines, I had the opportunity to meet Lights and chat with her about the making of her new album, motherhood, and her experiences in the music industry.
Music Vice: You’re working on a new album?
That’s so exciting.
I’m very excited about it.
Since Siberia, you’ve had a baby and you’ve gotten married. I just want to know how that has influenced you as an artist and if that’s going to be reflected at all in your new album?
It’s kind of hard to say what influences you, I think, because everything does. Everything in your life influences the way you are and the way you mature, and that is one thing that I’ve definitely done. My perspective on life- probably because I’ve been married and my priorities change, and had a baby and priorities changed again- you have a better perspective on life, and perspective is always good for songwriting and for sense of self. And that was really what I had a really hard time finding between Siberia and now. It was like “what am I going to do next?” “What am I?” You know? I think that’s every artist’s challenge when they’re coming out with their next record. You always wanna one-up the next one, but you wanna evolve, but you wanna still be you. So it’s actually a lot of exploration, but I think all of that stuff really helped me put things into perspective, and I wrote the best album I’ve ever done, I think.
And would you say, compared to your last album, that you had to find a whole new sound?
That’s kind of the case. I mean, like I said you always wanna do better than the last one, so you can’t do the same thing over, but you have to take what you learn from it and apply it to the next one. So every piece of work I do is a combination of everything that I’ve done before- only better, hopefully.
There was a bit of searching for sounds and that, but because Siberia was so sonically forward, that was what it was all about. Like let’s find cool sounds. The songs would come after, you know? But this record was kind of like I’m just gonna write great songs. I’m just gonna work on the songs, and then they’ll turn out how they turn out. So it wasn’t centered around finding a new sound, and that was a new step for me. And it really worked.
You and your sister were pregnant at the same time, and your niece was born with a physical disability. How has that had an impact on you?
It changes your perspective on things. It’s another one of those things that really matures you, and you kind of look back on all those times that you maybe looked at someone and didn’t think about the story behind it, and then you just assume one thing. It became really close to my heart. It just makes you love people more, you know? It makes you love the world around you a little bit more. She can do that for people- she’s gonna be an amazing force.
You’re a big advocate for female empowerment- one of your biggest role models is Wonder Woman. You have a daughter- if she chooses to follow in your footsteps in the future, what advice would you give her?
I thought that my parents did something interesting when they raised me in that they made me feel like I was the best person in the world – that I could do anything. They kind of instilled this huge sense of confidence in me when I was younger. So I thought I was unstoppable, and as life went on you realize as you get involved with your peers and everything else, there’s this sort of sense that you’re just one of everybody else. And I don’t think that’s a healthy mind frame, but that’s just the world. So I would want her to think that she’s the best, and that she could do anything. For a long time in my life I felt that that was the case, and I chased it, and I was able to do what I loved before logic set in, you know? And I think that there’s something about naïve passion that I would teach her.
You’re very experienced in the music industry, how do you stay grounded and keep site of your sense of self?
It goes back to that perspective thing. I mean, having a child really changes everything. I think one of the things that can make artists lose their sense of self is there’s this fear all the time of screwing up because everyone’s watching you, and there’s this fear that you have to make a hit song and this many people are supposed to show up at your shows and this many people are supposed to buy records, and it’s scary. There’s a lot of weird pressure applied to things that shouldn’t really matter that much. I mean, it is my line of work, but it shouldn’t make you feel scared the way that it kind of does, and that’s why people lose their minds a little bit, but having a baby put that into perspective. It’s kind of like, hey there’s more important things. I’m about to go on stage, I’m holding my child, and you go on and it’s like this is fun. I’m so lucky to be doing this.
That, and taking criticism and positivity online as equals. So you don’t let the positivity get to your head just as much as you try not to let the negative stuff get to your head. Never let someone saying “you’re beautiful” or “you’re ugly” affect you- neither of them hold any weight. That’s one of those things- just ignore the internet, ‘cause that can screw you up too!
© Danielle Subject, Music Vice
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