The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

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Lightman lifts up audiences in summer tour

 Lightman lifts up audiences in summer tour
Photo by Sommer Saadi, The Daily Campus
Lightman lifts up audiences in summer tour

Lightman lifts up audiences in summer tour (Photo by Sommer Saadi, The Daily Campus)

Although she has hit the road on headlining tours for artists like Howie Day and James Blunt, and she is currently on tour with Rob Thomas and Jewel, Toby Lightman remains somewhat of an underground treasure. However, the hype her 2004 released album “Little Things” received from outlets like Billboard and MTV and the excitement surrounding her upcoming album to be released in July are earning Lightman the attention her soulful and spirited music deserves.

Toby Lightman opened for James Blunt at Nokia Theatre in Grand Prairie on May 8. Her act catered to the crowd perfectly. The soulful rock vibe that her songs resonate engaged the audience who appreciated the effort and responded favorably. There was no questioning of her talent as Lightman made the difficult task of hitting notes and belting ballads to a crowded arena seem effortless.

“Nokia was a really big arena so that was something different,” said Lightman. “It was a really great show. I enjoyed the reaction of the Dallas crowd.”

Lightman ended her act with an open invitation to the audience asking them to meet her after her set. Those eager to buy her album and get her autograph surrounded her merchandise table.

The crowd was drawn in by Lightman’s obvious passion for her music. “I love peoples’ reactions to my music. It’s really unexplainable,” said Lightman.

The allure of her music rests in its originality. Although Lightman’s sound is heavily characterized by elements of soul, R&B and rock, the combination of all those elements are uniquely her own.

“I draw on a lot of different things,” explains Lightman. “That is probably why it is so difficult to categorize my music. I’ve always listened to a lot of soul and rock, and I think I fuse them together subconsciously.” The fusion of such distinct genres makes for the attractive sound that Lightman has mastered.

Her debut album “Little Things” is the type of collection that invites comparisons to artists like Mary J. Blige (whose hit “Real Love” Lightman covers on her album), Sheryl Crow, Alicia Keys and Lauryn Hill. Despite the freshness of her music, Lightman understands the need for comparisons.

“The thing about comparisons is people need them for a point of reference,” Lightman explains. And comparing her music to artists like Sheryl Crow and Mary J. Blige is a flattering place to start.

The strength of Lightman’s music is not solely a result of her contagious rhythm and sound, but also the engaging ambiguity behind the lyrics her sound complements.

“Writing for me is kind of a weird thing,” says Lightman. ” I try not to think too much. For instance, ‘Front Row’ took twenty minutes. But some songs take longer, like ‘Everyday’ took 3 years to perfect. So there is definitely a range.”

Her natural ability to write is another testament to the authenticity of her talent. Lightman explains when it comes to writing songs “there is no right way, no wrong way.”

“When I’m done writing a song I play it over and over and end up asking myself ‘where did this song come from?'”

Lightman fell into singing her freshman year of high school. “A friend suggested taking a vocal workshop instead of lunch so that we could be together and get more credits. It was a great class. We ended up just eating our lunches and singing.” Lightman’s accidental discovery quickly shaped her future.

“I didn’t really know the potential of my voice until things started to snowball with auditions and performances,” said Lightman.

Lightman made the decision to commit herself to music and pursue it professionally senior year of high school. “Senior year is when everyone is making decisions in reference to directions of life,” Lightman explains. “I made the decision to try music.” After a year at the University of Wisconsin, Lightman taught herself guitar and worked on writing songs. Letting her passion for music guide her, she then moved to New York.

Lightman views music as an art like any other. “It’s an amazing avenue for expression,” she explains. “The cool thing about it is it inspires people.”

And although her album “Little Things” argues Lightman has mastered her sound, she feels “it is still a mystery to me-something I am still figuring out. I still feel new at it because there are so many facets to discover.”

Hopefully Lightman uncovered more aspects to her music during the completion of her second album “Bird On A Wire” to be released July 25. Lightman says the primary difference between “Bird On A Wire” and “Little Things” is the new album “has no programming. There are no programmed drums, which was a big element on ‘Little Things.’ The second album features all live musicians. It was really organically produced, which is something I really wanted. The album focuses more on the songs. There is a lot more space on the tracks.”

Lightman focused on making the album true to her self and her art. “I wanted something real, timeless.”


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