Toby Lightman and Pete Schmidt to Perform at Illinois Wesleyan

November 7, 2005

BLOOMINGTON, Ill. - Singer-songwriter Toby Lightman will perform, along with opening act Pete Schmidt, on Saturday, Nov. 12 at 8 p.m., in Hansen Student Center (300 Beecher St., Bloomington).  The concert is free and open to the public and sponsored by the Office of Student Activities.

Lightman, who critics call a powerful, passionate, endlessly expressive and contagious performer, has a sound inspired by soulful rock and jazz, that has been described by critics as blending elements of Sheryl Crow and Lauryn Hill.

Growing up just outside of Philadelphia, Lightman started her career when she was just a child. "Unlike the kids around me, I wasn't really into any one type of pop music.  I remember being six years old and watching a TV special on violinists like Itzhak Perlman, which I guess made me a bit different from the rest of the first graders," said Lightman.  She began playing violin at the age of six, and used her talent on the violin when she recorded her latest album, playing with the symphony for the album's classic ballad "Frightened."

Lightman did not start singing though, until she and a friend took a vocal workshop class in high school to "fool around."  It was after she continued to be accepted into more advanced choral groups that she realized she had talent.

Inspired by her all-time favorite singer-songwriter, Stevie Wonder, Lightman began writing her own songs in college.  Critics agree that the highlight of her songwriting is the "uncommon eloquence of her personal, yet somehow universally resonant lyrics about universal themes and matters of the heart."

Opening for Lightman is Pete Schmidt who critics call a heartfelt singer-songwriter who will "continue to soar as a prominent acoustic rocker".

Raised in Alpharetta, Ga., Schmidt's fascination with music started at the age of 14, and through "endless experimentation," transformed him into an intricately harmonious guitar player.

Schmidt's recent full-length debut No Safe Bet has received nationwide attention. According to critics, his alluring rhythms and sincere lyrics, matched with his passionate voice, give him the potential to be a successful singer-songwriter with pop-rock sensibility.

"Being a songwriter, I tend to evolve more than change.  I'm always going to keep that certain uniqueness about myself, and all I've really done is mature with it," said Schmidt, who continues to learn and adapt different styles to work with his own.

Schmidt has performed with acts such as Jason Mraz, Everclear, David Gray, Glen Phillips (Toad the Wet Sprocket), and Norah Jones.  Industry ears are "perking up," according to critics, as he prepares to play alongside Gavin DeGraw.

For more information, contact Assistant Dean of Students Kevin Clark at or (309) 556-3850, or visit

Contact: Meg Dubuque, (309) 556-3181