Modern soul singer/songwriter Toby Lightman loves Every Kind Of People, her new release she’ll showcase Thursday night at the Outer Space in Hamden.
Combining indelible lyrics with crystal clear voice Lightman makes mighty fine company, and she’s a riot in concert. “Follow me on the Shitter!” In a recent interview she says her new release is her most honest record.
Q: Tell us about the process of writing, recording and producing Every Kind Of People? How many of the songs are autobiographical?
A: Well all of the songs are autobiographical to a point! I get inspiration from my own life, but sometimes I get a feeling and turn it into a story. I might hear of a friend who has had her heart broken or someone who found out a friend lied. And I take that feeling and create a story that might be completely different but is based on that same feeling! We all need inspiration sometimes!! However, the songs on EKOP are mostly about genuine feelings that I’ve had… Experiences that I am recently channeling. It’s probably my most honest record yet.
Q: Is there a track that has taken on a life of its own that you did not expect?
A: I think the song that has taken to many people is Slowly. You just never know what song is going to shine out more than others when you love them all.
Q: I asked my guitar hero Joe Walsh, what comes first in the songwriting process, the music or the lyrics? He said it generally starts with a guitar. What about you?
A: There really is no one way to write a song, but I guess 75% of the time, I start with a melody that’s in my head and I make the guitar work around that. If I start with a guitar progression, then I get into a mood and the melody comes after that. Starting with lyrics is rarely the case for me!
Q: The opening lyrics “Everyday is a struggle between what I wanna say and what I should keep to myself” resonates with fans. Do you still experience that struggle in everyday life or in the songwriting process? How long did it take you to write “Everyday.”
A: That song still rings true for me to this day! I tend to not think before I speak, it’s a work in progress:) But as an artist, blurting things out has been a really important learning experience with my writing. You have to get ideas out and not be afraid to say the bad ones too. I wrote Everyday over the course of about 5 years. So I blurted out a lot of bad ideas to find the gem.
Q: Several years ago you broke from the constraints of the corporate record world for an independent recording career under T Killa Records. What was the genesis for that, how much trepidation did you feel going on your own and did that decision inspire you to stay so close to your fans? It’s cool the way you include their input in your music packaging.
A: Moving away from the label was terrifying! It was all I knew. It’s like working for a major company and then going out on your own to start your own business. I was super intimidated. But I think it’s the best thing that could have happened. It has brought me closer to my fans and has shown me what’s important. Staying true to who I am as an artist and always cherishing my relationship with fans who are there to support me, label or not.
Q: You’ve performed with Rob Thomas (where I first saw you), Train and Prince (who saw you on Conan O’Brien and invited you to open for him). Was there one night you said somebody pinch me? And what’s it like on the road with the boys? Feel free to cough up the juicy stuff. We won’t tell…
A: I mean, hands down, it was my show with Prince. I said to my band, I could quit tomorrow. It just doesn’t get any better than being asked to open for one of your idols. If I could do that show again…!! When I tour, I am mostly with dudes. Some are well behaved and some are not:) One tour (artist to rename nameless) had so many girls on his bus, they were waiting in line to have a few “moments” in the back with him. His whole band came on my bus and we played video games until the line died down so they could go back on their bus to sleep!! Then the next day his girlfriend came for a visit.. eek
Q: Desperate Housewives, Bones, One Tree Hill, Vampire Diaries, you’ve enjoyed success with your work placed in television and film. Is that just a way to pay the bills, or something that will always be a fixture in the branding of Toby?
A: I hope and PRAY that it is here to stay. I feel lucky that I found a niche for myself in film and tv. Being a professional musician is tough and this is another way to bring in some income, while at the same time being a great way to get music heard! TV is the new radio, so keep em coming.
Q: What does Toby do when not playing guitar, singing and writing songs? Burn any meals lately?
A: No burnin!!! Al dente for me:) I love cooking. I also have recently bought a house with my husband and we renovated the whole thing ourselves! So I guess I could get into some contractor work! Tiling seems to be my forte. HA