Toby Lightman

Little Things Mean A Lot

Toby Lightman continues to make a name for herself through extensive touring, along with radio and television appearances, in support of her major label debut, Little Things (Lava/Atlantic).

Lightman, who grew up in Cherry Hill, NJ, is set to appear on an upcoming episode of the NBC drama "American Dreams," and recently played a pair of sets at the New York City Marathon.

Her cover of Mary J. Blige's "Real Love," maintains a presence on the radio and in VH-1's video rotation. Not bad for someone who has already performed on CBS's "Late Late Show with Craig Kilborn" and whose music has found its way to the WB television network's "Summerland" and "Smallville."

Lightman plans to continue playing her music live before considering her next album.

"That's basically the focus," she said. "Probably in the New Year I will think about the next album, but that's not my main focus right now."

"Little Things," the acoustic-based, sexy, earthy and rhythmic representation of Lightman's abilities, was released in March. Lightman's music is a clever merger of R&B, dance, folk and funk.

Lightman first noticed her potential as a vocalist in high school when she took a singing workshop class with a friend for fun. Later, she said she brought some members of the crowd at her high school graduation to tears when she sang a "gospel-ized rendition" of Simon & Garfunkel's "Bridge Over Troubled Water."

Her early musical tastes included rock, jazz and funk music. However, her real musical start began at age six when she began playing the violin.

When Lightman became a junior in high school, she picked up a guitar and taught herself to play. Soon after that, she added the title songwriter to her resume.

"It just kind of happened," Lightman said. "The more I felt comfortable on guitar, the more I started experimenting with words. It just kind of snowballed."

Lightman continued listening to artists like Ella Fitzgerald and Stevie Wonder, along with other R&B greats, and developed a rather varied taste in music. As she continued to pursue her songwriting, other musical styles like Blues Traveler, the Black Crowes and Big Head Todd & the Monsters showed up on her listening list.

Lightman said her influences tend to find their way into her music subconsciously, but her writing process is spontaneous. She said she tends to write about common topics such as love.

"I will never sit down and say: 'I am going to write a song today'," she said. "Then it's kind of forced."

While her songs can be personal, "I tend to keep it fairly general, so people can put their own interpretation to it," she said.

Lightman said that her heavy touring schedule, which has included college appearances and an opening slot with Gavin DeGraw, did not leave her much time to compose new music.

Before playing her songs live, she has her band put its own stamp on them. Her touring band, which consists of two guitars, bass and drums, has produced a sound that is separate from her keyboard heavy album, she said.

"We kind of messed around a lot with them [before touring]," she said.

[ Website: www.tobylightman.com ]

Josh Davidson
Josh Davidson has written music feature articles for Jersey Style and served as the Jersey Shore rock columnist for Steppin' Out Magazine. Other music writing credits include Aquarian Weekly, Jersey Beat, Backstreets and njcoast.com. He has written free-lance for the Asbury Park Press' Community Sports section and has written featured articles for its news section, as well as covering campus news and sports weekly for the Signal, the College of New Jersey's (formerly Trenton State College) student newspaper. He has worked as a staff writer for The Independent, and his work for Greater Media Newspapers has also been published in the News Transcript. He is a former beat reporter for the Ocean County Observer who presently is a news writer for Symbolic Systems Inc. supporting the US Army's Knowledge Center. His music writing covers a vast range of topics, from the current cover band craze, highs and lows of the original scene, to the early days of the Jersey Shore rock scene in Asbury Park. He is also a musician, having written hundreds of songs as a singer/songwriter, and playing them out as a solo/acoustic artist. He has also played with cover bands, including It Doesn't Matter, and several original bands, including as the guitarist for the solo project of singer/songwriter Dave Eric. He continues to work on solo material and is presently the guitar player for Jersey Breeze.
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