Pretty Lights

Pretty Lights

Pretty Lights
Also known as Derek Vincent Smith
Origin Fort Collins, Colorado
Genres Electronica, nu jazz, hip hop, soul, trip hop, downtempo
Years active 2006–present
Labels Pretty Lights Music
Associated acts Michal Menert
Break Science
Paul Basic
Eliot Lipp
Paper Diamond
Website .comprettylightsmusic
Members Derek Vincent Smith
Past members Cory Eberhard
Adam Deitch
Michal Menert

Derek Vincent Smith (born November 25, 1981) is an American electronic music artist who performs under the stage name Pretty Lights. He is also the proprietor of an associated music label, Pretty Lights Music.[1]


Smith wrote and produced hip hop music while attending high school in Fort Collins, Colorado. After graduating from high school, he attended University of Colorado at Boulder, but soon dropped out during his freshman year to focus on his music instead.[2] Derek Vincent Smith and Michal Menert began working on Pretty Lights in summer 2004.[3] In 2007 and 2008, Pretty Lights began playing late nights for large acts such as STS9, The Disco Biscuits, and Widespread Panic. Some of his first appearances outside of Colorado were at the end of 2008 on October 31 at Club 6 in San Francisco, CA,[4] November 14 at The Parish Room in Austin, Texas, and a December 6-7th show in Fayetteville, Arkansas at the former venue known as The Gypsy.[5][6] In the summer of 2009, under the moniker Pretty Lights, Smith played at several major American music festivals, such as Bonnaroo, Wakarusa, Rothbury, the Electric Daisy Carnival, Camp Bisco, and the 10KLF. The following autumn, he went on a multi-city tour of the United States.

In 2010, Pretty Lights played at the 2010 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, the Ultra Music Festival in Miami, the 2010 Marchone Music Productions Illumination Show in Nashville, the 2010 Evolve Festival in Nova Scotia, Movement 2010 (the Detroit Electronic Music Festival), the 2010 Starscape Festival, Camp Bisco, Nocturnal Festival at Apache Pass, Texas, the 2010 Electric Zoo at Randall's Island in New York City, New York, the North Coast Music Festival in Chicago, Illinois, and the Outsidelands Festival in San Francisco, California. More recently, they headlined the Snow Ball in Avon, Colorado, along with Bassnectar and the Flaming Lips. In June 2011, Pretty Lights played a late-night set at Bonnaroo, where he debuted the song "I Know the Truth." Smith also debuted his state-of-the-art light show in early 2011 involving LED towers made to look like a cityscape. In July 2011, he headlined at the Electric Forest in Rothbury, Michigan, at Camp Bisco in Mariaville, New York, and at the All Good Music Festival in Masontown, West Virginia, where he performed a special "once in a lifetime" track, a remix of John Denver's "Take Me Home, Country Roads."[7]

Smith toured with drummer Cory Eberhard from August 2007 to July 2010.[8] In late July 2010, Smith replaced Eberhard with Adam Deitch as drummer, debuting at Wanderlust on July 30.[9][10] Smith stopped touring with a live drummer in 2011. For his fall 2013 tour, Smith toured with a full band including drummer Adam Deitch, keyboardist Brian Coogan, keyboardist Borahm Lee, trombonist Scott Flynn and trumpeter Eric Bloom.[11]

On January 25, 2011, Smith released two albums on his newly formed record label, Pretty Lights Music. The record label offers free downloads of all Pretty Lights albums, plus releases from PLM artists including Michal Menert, Break Science, Gramatik, Paul Basic, Eliot Lipp, and SuperVision. Pretty Lights continues to distribute music for free, and frequently appears at festivals across the world.[12]

In 2012, Pretty Lights was featured in the musical documentary Re:GENERATION Music Project producing the track "Wayfaring Stranger," featuring Country music stars LeAnn Rimes and Ralph Stanley for a collaborative effort mixing two genres, namely electronic and country.[13]

Pretty Lights released a new full-length album titled A Color Map of the Sun on July 2, 2013. It is the first Pretty Lights album that does not rely on borrowed samples; Smith instead composed and recorded tracks with session musicians in studios in Brooklyn, New Orleans and Denver and pressed the recordings to vinyl, samples of which were then combined with modular synths and digital production methods.[14]

On December 6, 2013 A Color Map of the Sun received a nomination for Best Dance/Electronica Album in the 2014 Grammys.[15] On December 10, 2013 Pretty Lights released A Color Map of the Sun Remixes.[16]


Smith's music relies heavily on Novation X-Station, monome and the Akai MPD32. Smith uses these digital controllers to program the music production software Ableton Live 8. When performing live, Smith uses two Macbook Pros running Ableton Live 8 and two Akai MPD32s.[17] Smith usually considers his music as "Electro Hip-Hop Soul", a mix between elements of electronic based music, and beats from hip-hop and soul music.




  • 2010: Making Up a Changing Mind
  • 2010: Spilling Over Every Side
  • 2010: Glowing in the Darkest Night
  • 2014: The Hidden Shades

Live Sets

  • 2010: NYE 2009 (Midnight at The Vic Theatre)
  • 2011: WASHINGTON (IDentity Festival @ The Gorge)
  • 2012: LAS VEGAS (Electric Daisy Carnival @ L.V. Motor Speedway)


  • 2010: Defocused on the Bright Diamonds (Released by Joshua Davis)
  • 2010: Unreleased 2010 Remixes


  • 2011: PL vs Radiohead vs Nirvana vs NIN
  • 2011: I Know The Truth
  • 2011: Pretty Lights vs Summertime
  • 2011: Country Roads (Pretty Lights Remix)
  • 2011: Pretty Lights vs Led Zeppelin
  • 2011: "It's Tricky" (Pretty Lights Remix)
  • 2012: Wayfaring Stranger (Pretty Lights Remix)
  • 2012: We Must Go On
  • 2012: You Get High
  • 2012: Halloween Funtime Remix
  • 2012: Pretty Lights vs. The End Of The World
  • 2013: The Day is Gone
  • 2013: Around the Block (feat. Talib Kweli)
  • 2013: Around the Block (feat. Talib Kweli) (Datsik Remix)
  • 2014: Lost And Found


  1. ^ "Pretty Lights Bio, Music, News & Shows". Retrieved March 11, 2013. 
  2. ^ Wenzel, John: "Pretty Lights' tunes are a thrill that you don't have to buy", The Denver Post, 9-27-09
  3. ^ "Archive of Voicebox Records". Voicebox Records. Voicebox Records. Retrieved 6 October 2014. 
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^ "Pretty Lights-Country Roads Remix-All Good 2011- Front row-great sound quality". YouTube. 2011-07-18. Retrieved 2013-12-11. 
  8. ^
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  11. ^ "Need We Say More? > News > Pretty Lights Announces Full Live Band for Fall Tour". 2013-10-04. Retrieved 2013-12-11. 
  12. ^ by . "AOL Radio - Listen to Free Online Radio - Free Internet Radio Stations and Music Playlists". Retrieved 2013-12-11. 
  13. ^
  14. ^ "Watch: Pretty Lights produced his own vinyl records then sampled them for his new album "A Color Map of the Sun" including new track [VIDEO". this song is sick. 2013-05-19. Retrieved 2013-12-11. 
  15. ^ 12/07/2013 00:02:43 (2013-12-06). "Grammy Nominees 2014: See The List - Music, Celebrity, Artist News". Retrieved 2013-12-11. 
  16. ^ "Pretty Lights Released A Color Map of the Sun Remixes". New York Music News. 2013-11-19. Retrieved 2013-12-11. 
  17. ^ a b Annika Heinle, The Stanford Daily. "Pretty Lights are pretty amazing". 

External links

  • Official website