Lights was born Valerie Anne Poxleitner in Timmins, Ontario, to missionary parents, Virginia and Eric Poxleitner. She has one older sister, Jess. She spent her childhood in many parts of the world, including the Philippines, Jamaica, Ontario, and British Columbia. She moved to Toronto at the age of 18 when she legally changed her name to Lights. She got the nickname "Lights" from her last name Poxleitner. As there was already a signed band named "Lights", having her name officially changed was a way to use it despite prior use.