“Lightman’s debut suggests bigger things to come.” -ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY
“The whole project oozes spirituality, if not outright womanly sensuality...” BILLBOARD
“Lightman’s dusky vocals and earthy, groovy vibe invite comparisons to Joan Osborne and Sheryl Crow.” -USA TODAY
In a world of auto-tune, Toby Lightman's pure and soulful voice cuts through the noise. People Magazine has stated that “No small talent... Toby Lightman continues to shine a light on her knack for making rich, soulful pop”. From her major label debut in 2004 to her current independent spirit, Toby has mastered her own sophisticated urban pop. With each song, recording or collaboration, Toby continues to hone, craft and perfect her unique sound.
Classically trained on the violin and self-taught on the guitar, Lightman was unaware of her vocal talent until high school. Her first solo appearance was singing Simon & Garfunkel’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water” at her high school graduation to 2,000 friends and family who were unaware that she harbored such talent. The overwhelming reaction from the crowd was what propelled her to buy a guitar and begin her journey as a recording artist. Lightman moved to New York City after graduating from University of Wisconsin, and signed a record deal with Jason Flom (Matchbox 20, Lorde, Jesse J) President of Lava Records with only 3 songs written.
Thrust into the spotlight, her debut album Little Things appeared on the Billboard Top 100 in it’s first week and gave way to comparisons to sultry songstress' like Lauryn Hill, Sheryl Crow and Norah Jones. Darling to the normally harsh critics, Lightman received high praise from magazines like Rolling Stone, People, Billboard and others, which led to appearances on Letterman, Carson Daly, Conan, CBS Morning Show and more. Her second record, Bird on a Wire (2006), helped lead Lightman to enormous success in the film and TV industry with the single “My Sweet Song” being featured in the movie PS I Love You, starring Hilary Swank and Gerard Butler. She began and has continued to tour extensively, both solo and sharing the bill with renowned artists such as Rob Thomas, Jewel, James Blunt, Gavin DeGraw, Train, Marc Cohn, and one special evening opening for the legendary Prince, an artist that Toby grew up idolizing. Prince happened to be watching the night Toby appeared on Conan and was so impressed with her performance he invited her to open for him.
Since breaking away from the politics and constraints of corporate record companies, Lightman launched her independent record career with her self-released album, Let Go, in 2008. The title track was picked up by Home Shopping Network for use in the network's marketing campaign, with promos featuring the song airing on dozens of television channels for six months, letting Lightman know it would all be okay. She was then asked to sing the theme song and appear in the opening video for NASCAR on Fox as well as participate in an off broadway reading of the musical "Alive in the World". A show featuring broadway greats Lea Michele, Adam Pascal, Melissa Errico and others. " Being an independent artist in today’s music business can be a scary and daunting thing" says Toby, "but getting constant positive feedback that people are into what you're doing inspires you and keeps you going. I've been lucky to get that feedback and it’s encouraged me to take more chances."
As an independent artist, Toby Lightman has enjoyed tremendous success with the placement of her music in film and TV. So much so that she has been dubbed the "queen of TV and film." Some of her songs used in television and films include “Everyday” on Fox’s Bones, “Holding a Heart” in numerous shows such as WB’s One Tree Hill, Vampire Diaries, 90210 as well as the feature film What’s Your Number? Her winter evoking “Snow Day” was the soundtrack to a KMart commercial. “Addicted” was used in the promos for ABC’s Desperate Housewives series finale as well as the trailer for the movie Playing For Keeps. Amazingly, eight of Toby's songs were highlighted in a single episode of the ABC Family series The Fosters. Toby and her song “We Are” were featured in the demo for the new Microsoft BING software. Toby was asked to write a song for the latest American Girl film as well as many other original compositions.
Her last full length record, Every Kind of People, was released in collaboration with Vertusent Music Group and Red Distribution. It was released on the 10th year anniversary of her Lava Records debut album Little Things that earned her national acclaim with the single “Devils & Angels.”
Lightman's long time love affair with living in a hustling, bustling city, coupled with the human condition, is the journey that resides in the songs on Every Kind Of People. "I spent years writing songs about my life and my own personal love and loss, only to realize that my stories were also being played out in front of me on the street. From the girl standing on the sidewalk crying, to the man sleeping on the subway heading home from work, we are all feeling the same things, and that’s what I tried to convey in these songs. Sometimes I look up at the buildings and think, every window is a person, a person with a story." Songs "Bumps in the Road" and "Slowly" were seen in multiple TV show and national TV promo ads.
Toby is currently producing her next album on her own, playing all of the instruments and mixing the tracks as well. She was inspired to do this by the passing of one of her idols, Prince, whom she had the honor of touring and spending time with. "These songs are extremely personal to me as they are what came out of a hard battle with infertility. I wanted the song as well as the production to be 100% from me and it is. I can't wait for the world to hear them". Toby is also currently accepted into the prestigious BMI Lehman Engel Advanced Musical Theater Workshop where she is developing different ideas for broadway musicals. Stay tuned!