Posted November 12, 2014 by Jeff in Tunes

Neon Hitch: Not afraid to make a beautiful mess

Neon Hitch, photo by Zawadi Abwao
Neon Hitch, photo by Zawadi Abwao

Thanks to some highly successfully YouTube videos, pop singer Neon Hitch has become an Internet sensation. The Brit singer has embarked on her self-funded Yard Sale Tour to promote Eleutheromaniac, the debut album that she’ll self-release before the year is over. Neon Hitch talked to us while riding a bicycle on the way to a gig.

You started out as a street performer. Talk about those early days.
Honestly, the early days were not far from my current days. I was traveling in a bus, wearing crazy clothes, meeting crazy characters and making a living doing something I love. It’s kind of the same but I’ve learned a lot. It definitely prepared me for what I’m doing. As far as performance goes, I’ve always been a performer. Back then, I was doing trapeze and then I transitioned into singing. It’s evolved.

What made you want to start writing songs?
I’ve always been a poet. I had my first published poem when I was eight or something. It was terrible but for my age it was pretty good. I keep journals. I’ve always been a writer.

Do you have a favorite poet?
Honestly, my mom. She has very revolutionary lyrics.

How did you sign to Warner Bros.?
I’m a very lucky person. I came to America with nothing. I guess I just met the right people. I was doing the showcases for all the different record labels. It was the most tedious experience of my life. I was signed to EMI and they took me to sessions with all these top writers. They introduced me to the person who did A&R for Warner Bros. They loved me so much and wanted to sign me. It was the only label I didn’t showcase for.

I went to the president’s house and we ate cupcakes and hung out in his stupidly massive mansion. I just signed on the spot. That’s the story of my life.

What was your initial approach on Beg, Borrow and Steal
I guess I wanted to perfect writing pop hits. When I was doing music in England, I was doing urban, left field stuff. When coming out here, I perfected my writing. Now, I know how to write a pop hit. That was my mission. I succeeded, so it’s good.

And yet the album got scrapped.
I don’t like to use the term scrapped. That sounds so harsh. I’m not calling it my first album and I’m selling some of the songs to other artists. They’re not as personal as I want them to be. Songs that don’t fit me and only me as an artist can go to somebody else. I want to define myself as an artist and tell my story because my story is crazy. I want my songs to be the kind of songs that it would make sense only I sing. It’s not scrapped. Some of it I’ve reworked and some of it I’ll keep.  Some of the songs are just going to different homes.

What about “Fuck You Betta”? Is that going to be on your debut?
It’s a single that’s never going to be on an album. It’s the most bizarre thing to me that you would have your artist put out two singles and they go to number one. I’ve done a lot of viral stuff and yet none of those songs would be on the album. It’s insane.

What’s the reason for that?
I think labels are very scared. They have to take a big chance. I’m fearless. I can’t comprehend that mindset. It’s not easy being signed to a major label. They have so many different artists, it’s hard to get the focus of everybody all at once. They just want to focus on the hot shit right now. That’s why I took a step back and I’m trying to focus on the future. If the fans are your label, you have a label for life. You’re always the hot shit. That’s my approach. That’s what I’m working on with my label.

How much of a mess did the black paint create in the video for “Fuck U Betta?”
I love making a mess when I make my videos. That was one was one of the messiest. I had a whole routine, but when they started pouring the black oil on me I was slipping everywhere and couldn’t do it. You just see my freestyle snake dance. I made a mess in my video for “Midnight Sun” too. I filled a tub with milk and I guess it never came out of the tub. I got banned from the hotel where we filmed.

Do you feel like you’re objectified in the video?
I’m a sexual creature and I don’t deny that. I think being a woman is a beautiful thing. I think a man should have sexual powers too. I’m not afraid of it. It’s part of my power. I’m not going to deny it.

Talk about the song “Yard Sale” and what inspired it.
For me, it’s a theme of emotional cleansing. I have so much shit weighing me down. What is the best way to get rid of old shit? Have a yard sale. So I made a song about it. I think “yard” is more of an American term but I feel more American these days. I’ve been living here for six years now. I’ve never lived anywhere that long.

How will that concept work on the current tour?
The theme of the tour is a yard sale. The stage is full of random junk. People came come up and buy the random junk or they can bring yard sale items to the show. You can come to my show and make money too. I think it’s an interactive theme. It’s a way to interact with my friends.

Bring the old you. Bring the old bullshit.

It goes toward a good cause too.
Absolutely. I support LGBT. It’s great to see my name on the ticket. I’ve always been opening for someone but this is my tour and I pulled it all together myself. It’s very rewarding.

Madonna is a clear antecedent for what you do. Is she an inspiration?
Madonna is definitely one of my inspirations. A woman who’s not afraid to own who they are and what they stand for — you have to respect that.

Upcoming 2014 Tour Dates

Thu 11/13

Fri 11/14

Sat 11/15

Sun 11/16

Tue 11/18

Wed 11/19

Nashville, TN – The High Watt

Chicago, IL – Elbo Room

Pontiac, MI – Pike Room

Cleveland, OH – HOB – Cambridge Room

New York, NY – Studio at Webster Hall

Cambridge, MA – Middle East


Jeff started writing about rock ’n’ roll some 20 years ago when he stood in the pouring rain to hitch hike his way to see R.E.M. on their Life’s Rich Pageant tour. Since that time, he's written for various daily newspapers, alt-weeklies, magazines and websites. Feel free to comment on his posts or suggest music, film and art to him at [email protected].