“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 crowded social media driven marketplace, Toby Lightman's pure and soulful voice connects with listeners emotionally and cuts through the noise. People Magazine agrees, stating that “Toby Lightman continues to shine a light on her knack for making rich, soulful pop”. In the 15 years since signing with a major label, Toby has developed and mastered her own sophisticated and unique urban pop 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 the 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 its first week and gave way to comparisons to sultry songstresses 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. She was then asked to sing the theme song and appear in the opening video for NASCAR on Fox, as well as a string of other collaborations including a brief stint on Broadway. “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." To that point, Toby has enjoyed tremendous success licensing her music for placement in film and TV, with credits including commercials for Microsoft and KMART, as well as her songs placed on episodes of Desperate Housewives, One Tree Hill, Vampire Diaries, 90210, The Fosters, and many more.
Lightman is currently producing her new recordings entirely on her own. Her latest independent single, “I’m Comin’ Over”, was written and produced using minimal gear hastily grabbed when her family fled Brooklyn for Springs, NY during her COVID quarantine. In addition to playing the piano and acoustic guitars herself, Lightman used this limited technology to capture sounds from a noteworthy list of quarantined musicians. The drums were played by Joey “Coach” Hanna (Carrie Underwood, Brandi Carlile, Gavin DeGraw) in Cleveland, Ohio, bass played by Lee Nadel (Sara Bareilles, Jason Mraz, Darlene Love) in Amagansett, NY, guitars played by Marc Copely (Rosanne Cash, Buddy Miller, Billy Squier) in Nashville, TN, and strings were arranged and played by Clint Bennett (Hans Zimmer, Mark Isham, David Sardy) in Los Angeles, CA. Mixing was handled by David “Dibs” Shackney (Celine Dion, Jennifer Lopez, Avril Lavigne) in Ossining, NY.
Her previous independent single, “Begin Again”, was released on January 31st, 2020. The lyrics are powerful, the raw emotion is palpable, and the subject matter is real. “'Begin Again' feels like my most personal song yet. When I wrote it I had just suffered a miscarriage. I felt a bit broken, like something was wrong with me. The words that came out were as close to the emotions I was feeling as I could get. This song took me by the hand and walked me out of the dark. I hope it can do that for whoever listens," said Lightman.
Thankfully, after a long road, Toby gave birth to a beautiful baby boy named Leo Cash. She then produced a first collection of lullaby songs for him and called it When The Lion Sleeps - Modern Lullabies; the record is a combination of cover songs and one original.
Toby Lightman’s story is still being told, and she is hopeful to resume touring later this year in support of new, deeply personal music in the months and years to come.
JLS Artist Management