Neon Hitch can be described as a free-spirited vagabond, or as she likes to describe herself, “a tribal gypsy magical fairy.” She spent her teenage years exploring the jungles in India and street performing in Europe. Her unusual name and life experiences could account for her uncensored, electric pop musical style, which fans can expect to hear on her upcoming debut album, Beg Borrow, Steal slated for release this summer.
The 26-year-old’s first single, “F**k U Betta” reached No.1 on the Billboard Hot Dance Play Charts and was featured on Gym Class Hero’s 2012 radio hit, “A** Back Home.” In January Hitch released an EP, Happy Neon (it can be downloaded for free here), to tide fans over until her album release. “It’s really for my fans because they’ve been waiting. They deserve some music; I didn’t want them to pay, so I just put it out for free.”
Hitch was born in Kingston-Upon-Thames in England—but the day she was born, her family’s house burned down. “My mom bought a bus [and we left], and that was the beginning of our travels. We traveled around Europe. We started fire breathing; it’s a family trade.” Hitch’s mom was already a performer, but after the house fire, they traveled in a group of gypsies who went from city to city as trapeze artists and street entertainers. While it seems that this could all be from the pages from some inspirational, offbeat memoir, it actually all happened to Hitch (and the documentary BBC did about her and her family when she was 11-years-old just proves it).
As any average teenager would, Hitch left her family to live in India; she spent most of her time in Goa, but also lived on and off in Delhi and Bombay. “It was the most mind-opening experience I’ve ever had. I lived off 10 pounds a week from my mom,” she says. “My mom’s a free spirit. She’s really allowed all of us to choose our own path, which is very special.”
Traveling from place to place was liberating in one sense, but Hitch also notes that not having a home proved difficult. “…Although it was horrific, it was also an amazing experience to have. It makes you extremely grateful for every single thing.”
While Hitch whimsically avers that music was something that just happened; she decided to leave India to go to London and pursue her burgeoning career. “I wasn’t feeling completely fulfilled when I was in India. I was living a happy life, but I had this drive and feeling that I had so much to share with the world. Music is a fantastic tool.”
Hitch would often sing at parties in London whenever there were opportunities to get on the microphone. “It fell into place naturally. One place heard me, which led me to another place,” the songstress unassumingly explained of her early rise. “It’s really been a chain of connections that have been put in my path… I just worked really hard every day from the ground up.”
Her first big break came when she penned Kesha’s hit, “Blah, Blah, Blah.” But it was when Swedish musician Neneh Cherry (half sister of Eagle Eye Cherry), took Hitch under her wing and guided her that really started her career. Since, she’s toured with Professor Green, opened up for 50 Cent and on the heels of the recent successful single, she toured with Gym Class Heroes. “We had a really long tour together; it was a really a great experience. [I’m] so grateful to them.”
Hitch has been on a stage so often that she can’t recall her first experience. “I’ll turn anything into a stage, I always have. I’m more comfortable on stage than I am in everyday life on the street…I’m more comfortable with the performer side of myself, where all inhibitions are gone.”
She asserts the new album has a more radio-friendly sound thanks to an electric group of collaborators. “I worked with amazing producers and writers: Benny Blanc, Greg Glass, Trout…. They’re all very strong in different areas,” Hitch says. “I worked with Bruno Mars and Sia on the album, too.”
Hitch has long admired Sia’s work, saying, “I’ve followed her from the very beginning in England. She was a huge inspiration to me and still is.” After being a fan of Sia and having an opportunity to work with her, Hitch reflects on the how “crazy [it is] seeing dreams become reality.” She adds, “When things like that happen, it just kind of proves that anything is possible. I start out by listening to Sia, years later I’m in the studio in New York with her!”
Happy Neon, her recently released EP, captures her gritty and pop vocal inflections. The track “Pink Fields” melds an infectious melody with lyrics like “I have found a place what I call/ Pink fields/ Looking so good/ Will I go home/ or run away,” showcasing that side of her that always wants to explore.