American singer-songwriter Toby Lightman was unaware of her singing abilities until her high school years. She stunned her family and friends at her high school graduation with a solo of Simon & Garfunkel’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water” and, soon after, self-taught herself guitar. Lightman moved to New York after college, signed a deal with Lava Records, and released her debut album Little Things in 2004. She’s been a successful, touring musician ever since she took that leap.
Lightman’s roll-with-it sense of self discovery and reflection is felt in her music, performances and interviews. She can break down complex topics into lyrics audiences relate to, and she feels this during her shows. “Performing is completely primal,” says Lightman. “Imagine running. You’re not thinking. It’s just gut, gut, gut.” Lightman loves the rush of performing, and you’ll find her singing her heart out and beating on her guitar to songs like “I’m Going to Break His Heart” and “Let Go.”
Song writing has a different meaning for Lightman, though, and she uses it in different ways. As an artist, she uses songwriting to convey a thought that she is intimately connected to and will dive into that place. Lightman also writes music for other artists and taps into what they may think or feel. For television and film, the story is the inspiration, and she links herself to something that would convey the same emotion. When she’s performing though, she says, “The thinking is done, and I pour out my heart.”
Live Photo: Will Hunt
Posed Photo: Andrew Zaeh