Becca Drayer - guest vocals
Saving the band during a crucial time of uncertainty, Becca played an pivotal role in cementing the trio's unique sound. Hailing from the Harrisburg, PA area, music was always a big part of her life. Look no further than her earlier years of experience playing violin and piano. While string instruments were her first love, deep down she always wanted to sing. Luckily enough, her eventual passion for singing was nurtured by her upbringing amongst a very musical family. It was no unusual sight (or sound, for that matter) for rock bands to be practicing around the house throughout her teen years. Yet as much as she loved her classical training with piano and violin, Becca’s desire to sing onstage continued to grow year after year.
It wasn’t until college when she found her voice and began studying with different vocal coaches, graduating with a minor in voice studies at Lebanon Valley College. She also further explored her interest in music and singing through musical theater. Becca eventually landed roles in college and local theater productions such as ‘Three Penny Opera’ and ‘Nunsense 2.’ She has also sung with both the Dayton Philharmonic Choir and the Baltimore Choral Arts Society.
With a forte in choral music, Becca cemented a lot of the key arrangements that defined the male & female blends heard throughout the band's growing catalog of original songs. Debby's original contributions set the bar high, but Becca was able to come in and take things to new heights, which enriched the creative process that Matt and David came to love so much. A new chapter was written in 2016, yet in the aftermath of her eventual departure in 2019, the band remains grateful for the legacy she helped to leave behind.
David Castro - vocals, guitar, percussion
David credits a multi-cultural upbringing and competitive band scene during his high school years as the catalysts for his music passion. Growing up, his home offered unique blend of latin music from his Colombian roots together with international crossover acts like The Bee Gees, Julio Iglesias, ABBA, and The Beatles. Heavily influenced from chart-topping solo artists from the 70s and 80s such as Billy Joel, Don Henley, Richard Marx, and Peter Gabriel, David ultimately fell in love with rock during the 90s grunge explosion.
After playing with several bands throughout his high school career, David continued writing original material throughout his undergraduate studies at the University of Maryland. He quickly learned to become self-reliant with his productions by using emerging technology to arrange & program other instruments digitally. As he struggled to reconcile his science degree with his creative ambitions, David seized an opportunity when his original song "Break Me" won 3rd place overall in the Rock category for the 14th Annual Billboard Songwriting Contest. He moved to Los Angeles in 2010, but the aftermath of the Great Recession was too much to bear. Forced to move back within the same year, David took a long hiatus from music to rebuild and start anew.
David recalls his initial thoughts upon joining the band in late 2014: "I honestly wasn't expecting it to turn out the way it did. In many ways I saw my time in LA as a bit of a failure, but I still had this itch to get back into writing and performing. I guess I needed the right outlet, and Third Light was exactly that. Our chemistry is great, which allows for a lot of creative freedom. We’re having fun, and to me, that’s the most important part."
Debby Greene - vocals
A Columbia, MD, native, Debby grew up cherishing music and the arts since as far back as she can remember. Whether it was sharing her "secret talent" with her cousins, performing at camp with friends, or harmonizing with her twin sister at will, Debby offers plenty of creative energy mixed with her vast technical training. During her elementary and middle school years, she was selected to sing with the Maryland All-State Chorus for two years. Additionally, Debby played the flute and performed with the marching band and wind ensembles throughout her high school years. Debby continued to shine with entry into various selective groups such as Wilde Lake High's "Beauty Shop," Towson State University's "Red Hot Blue," and the University of Maryland's "Kol Sasson."
Fellow bandmate David Castro first met Debby in high school, and he recalls his early impressions of her: "I always admired how gifted she was at so many things, both academically and creatively. And even today I continue to be blown away by things that she makes look so easy." Like Matt, Debby also shares the privilege of having performed for various weddings, and it was through her supportive husband that she connected with Matt and began the initial incarnation of would later become Third Light. Playing coffeehouses, farmers markets, and a few open mic events, the two quickly built a solid catalog of cover songs ranging from all genres and time periods.
Just as she has evolved as a mother of two, Debby is also thrilled about the evolution of the band and where they find themselves now. "More than anything, I love it when kids come and dance while we perform. Especially when it comes to my son, Elijah, it's just fun to bring that kind of energy to an event where everyone and anyone is welcome."
Matt Smith - guitar, vocals
Matt is proud of his New Jersey heritage, having been born and raised in Freehold - the same hometown as the Garden State’s favorite son, Bruce Springsteen. Matt recalls becoming obsessed with music from the time he was six years old, when he was first exposed to the sounds of Brian Wilson and The Beach Boys. Music was a constant in the Smith household, with his father always playing a variety of genres and artists ranging from Motown supergroups like The Four Tops, to classic rock titans such as The Rolling Stones.
Hoping to take his passion a step further, Matt decided to pick up the guitar at age 15, purchasing a cheap Ibanez electric. From the moment he was able to play the opening notes of Metallica’s “One”, he knew he would never look back. “It was as if I had unlocked the combination to a secret safe somewhere, “ he recounts. “Being able to reproduce the sounds of a world famous rock n’ roll band was awe inspiring.”
Learning other artists’ songs led to his own songwriting ventures, first in his high school metal band Year of the Dragon, then forming alternative rock outfits Single Degree of Freedom and The Cause while a student at University of Maryland. Matt’s original music has spanned various genres including hard rock, heavy metal, punk, alternative, and blues. Matt’s last group was an eclectic one-man side project, Venus From Afar. Between past bands and solo work, Matt has performed live over 100 times at various festivals, nightclubs, bars, and even weddings throughout the Tri-State and DMV (DC-MD-VA) regions. Matt’s greatest guitar influences include Jimi Hendrix, John Frusciante, and Mike McCready, and his all time favorite band is Pearl Jam. In regards to Third Light, he states: “It truly feels like a new beginning for me musically; something that had remained dormant for so long that has finally been awakened.”
What started as a musical outlet for Columbia, MD, residents Debby Greene and Matt Smith has now evolved into Third Light. After playing a variety of open mics and other local events, Debby reached out to longtime friend David Castro. In the late summer of 2014, the trio solidified what would become their new musical endeavor. After a fast start by covering a wide range of artists from genres spanning from pop, blues, classic rock, grunge/alternative, and adult contemporary, Third Light settled down at the end of the year to begin writing their first wave of original material.
Finishing nine originals in less than a year and a half, and raising nearly $1000 for several local charities, the band continues to perform while they lay the foundation for a forthcoming as-yet untitled debut EP. 2016 also saw an important change with the addition of Becca Drayer to the band. Just as Debby celebrated the birth of her second child, Becca stepped in to lend her vocal talents to the group and keep things moving forward. While Third Light continues to evolve, the music always yearns for a certain creative cohesiveness. 2019 saw the return of Debby, rejuvenating the band and helping to bring things back to their roots. Everyone is super excited about picking up where things left off and telling new stories with both new covers and originals.
There are currently has three original tracks available for streaming in the Music and Video sections of the site: I've Found A Love and it’s tale of an emotional renaissance, the hard truths remembered in the bittersweet Then and Now, and the stark lyrical confrontation that is The Rebel Inside. Stay tuned as many more tracks find their way onto the site as well as in future live sets throughout the Baltimore/Washington metropolitan areas.