There was a stretch when the term “VH1 You Oughta Know artist” carried some considerable weight. In the early to mid-2000s, inoffensive singer-songwriters like James Blunt, Natashia Bedingfield and Corrine Bailey Rae took the network’s tag and ran with it, charting a few major hits along the way. Most of the “You Oughta Know” alums from this time pumped a little soul into the late-‘90s alt-pop model. They were a strange commodity — artists usually caught in major label-purgatory who needed an extra boost to their five minutes of fame.
Toby Lightman was a “You Oughta Know” artist in 2005, just after the release of her first album, Little Things
, but it never quite took her to Blunt or Bedingfield-levels of stardom. Her singles “Devils and Angels” and “Real Love” (a Mary J. Blige cover) were minor hits on the U.S. Adult Top 40 charts, but since then, her career’s been more of a consistent tinkering with the era’s sound than repeated pop success.
Lightman’s latest album, Every Kind of People
, is a change of pace on several accounts — it’s her first effort crowdfunded through PledgeMusic, but Every Kind of People
also represents the first time Lightman really sets her sights on the ‘60s soul revival. The songs are still decidedly personal — many are simple piano ballads — but, by looking far into the past, Lightman has kept up with the times.