Pop Album of the Year nominee Lights looking forward to ‘chill’ time at the Junos
Being cool, calm and collected is overrated. Anxiously twiddling thumbs and gritting teeth - that’s how musician and Juno Award winner Lights wants to feel just before she releases new music.
“I was nervous releasing this album, and I think that’s the way you should feel,” Lights says. “I think you shouldn’t always be sure it’s going to work. But you should be sure that it’s great.”
That’s exactly how the Timmons, Ontario-born singer felt when she released her sophomore album “Siberia”, and it earned her a 2012 Juno nomination for Best Pop Album of the Year.
“I’ve evolved so much as an artist and the new record is such a different sounding record that I’m just so stoked that I was even looked at in the pop category,” she says. “It’s very, very cool for CARAS (Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences) to do that so I’m excited to see what happens. It’s definitely been a step in a new direction for me.”
Lights integrated different techniques on “Siberia”, working with other artists like Holy F*ck and Shad to create different sounds. She describes her second album as darker, grittier and more distorted in its music, which produced a realness and rawness that she wasn’t hearing in music at the time.
“The beauty of it is that it took really discovering myself as an artist to produce this record,” she says. “It became kind of an adventure and kind of scary at the same time, which is one of the reasons we called it ‘Siberia’. It felt like we were exploring this unexplored territory. It was a little scary but it was exciting.”
Critics have called her music pop, rock, and electronic art, but Lights doesn’t feel she fits completely into any one of those categories.
“I don’t know how to define myself. It’s kind of a blessing because it keeps me open-minded and it keeps me able to keep changing and evolving,” she says. “It (the music) comes out in all kinds of different forms and it’s interpreted in the way that whoever’s interpreting it wants to view it, which I think is cool.”
Lights was already honoured at the Junos with the Best New Artist of the Year Award in 2009. Her debut album “The Listening” was nominated for a Juno in 2010. She’s also been recognized by the Canadian Indie Awards, but she says she’s not intimidated by awards shows in the slightest.
“I’ve gone to a couple but I just kind of go and have fun and try not to get too worked up about it. I mean, it should be a really chill thing,” she says. “It’s to celebrate music and when you look at it like that, everyone is here with the same thing in mind. I’m just going to go in like that.”
Despite the “chill” approach to awards shows, there is one thing Lights takes seriously: her online presence.
“I’ve been on the internet since the inception of dial-up,” she says. “When I’m sitting down with my phone, I’m on Twitter. When I’m lying down in bed at night, I’m on Facebook, making sure that everything is up to date.”
Lights has managed to cultivate a huge online following, with 358,000 Twitter followers and 831,000 Facebook likes. She says using social media online is something that comes naturally to her and she’s interested in seeing where it takes her from here, even getting educated on the topic.
“I’m taking computer science courses so I can learn the coding side of things so I can understand it more,” she says. “This is the future of marketing and this is the future of putting yourself out there for the world.”
For the immediate future, Lights is focused on wedding plans with her fiancé and fellow musician Beau Bokan (from the band Blessthefall), though she’s still not sure if they’re going to have any kind of musical collaboration as part of the ceremony.
“We’re probably going to make it (the wedding) happen in the next few months, probably,” she says. “Some people prefer not to mix their musical worlds because you never know what kind of a dynamic that will create in a relationship. But who knows? I mean, we have our whole lives.”
The 2012 Juno Awards air on Sunday, April 1, 2012 at 8pm ET/PT on CTV.