With help from Swedes, solo debut is a hit

Lights On

The Latvian popular music scene never fails to amaze with its good supply of new and up-and-coming talent. To this list we can add the singer Dons, who recently released his debut solo album, Lights On.

The 22-year-old singer, whose real name is Artūrs Šingirejs, recorded the album with the help of Swedish producers and musicians in Stockholm. There are basically two producer teams on the album. Brothers Andreas and Martin Karlegård co-wrote, produced, performed and recorded five of the songs at K*Bros Studio, while Peter Månsson teamed up with James Cartiers on four songs and with Patric Sarin for one song at MIR Studios.

All the songs are sung in English and Dons does a great job with them. Actually, Dons is one of the few singers from Latvia who can sing in English with nearly no accent. His voice sometime sounds similar to that of Huey Lewis and at other times that of Red Hot Chilli Peppers singer (and Lithuanian-American) Anthony Kiedis.

Dons first gained wide notice in Latvia as one half of the duo Dons & Lily, paired with Linda Kalniņa. They met on the Latvian television reality show “Talantu fabrika.” The duo released one album, Viens otram, in 2004, but went their separate ways in 2005.

Lights On kicks off with opening track, “Take Me Alive,” a fast paced number that has a fabulous, screeching guitar solo. Dons really belts out the chorus line on this song. Next is the first single from the album, a ballad called “Light Out,” which has been getting good airplay on Latvian radio stations. There’s a videoclip to the song as well. This is the showcase for songwriters Dons and the Karlegård brothers.

“Jaded,” s song about the new generation taking over, has a little quote from The Doors’ song “When The Music’s Over.” This is not by coincidence, as one of Dons’ favorite groups is The Doors. “American Lovebite” is a Beatles-sounding song complete with a horn section. It’s one of four songs where Dons is not inolved as a songwriter, this being left to his Swedish counterparts.

Really grooving is “When Love Turns to Pain.” All the instruments are played by Månsson, while backing vocals are sung by Sarin. The song also has a catchy chorus.

The next three tracks on the album are produced by the Karlegård brothers, starting with “You Should Know Better,” a powerpop song that goes well together with the previous track. “Best Kept Secret” is a more poppy song, but again with a strong chorus. “Nothing’s Really There” is a song about childhood memories and shadows in the room that are just imagined.

The last two songs are produced by Månsson and Cartiers. “Mr. Greene” is the current single from the album, a steady-paced storytelling track that showcases Dons’ singing abilities. “Just Save Me” rounds out the album and is a rocking walking beat song where Dons goes looking for missing pieces, but I believe he has found them by creating this album.

All in all, the album has 10 good, strong songs, professionally performed, produced and recorded.


Lights On


Platforma Records,  2006

PRCD 151

Where to buy

Purchase Lights On from BalticShop.

Note: Latvians Online receives a commission on purchases.

Raitis Freimanis lives in Stockholm, Sweden, and is a founding member of the Latvian-Canadian band Skandāls.

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