NEON HITCH: Call of the Wild

We’ve all been very bad dogs, and the UK’s Neon Hitch is ready to tame us with her eclectic style, bass-thumping instrumentals and fierce vocals.

Words: Jason Weintraub

Neon Hitch, and yes her real name is Neon, is a traveling gypsy who lived in a van for the majority of life with her mom, working for the circus. Named Neon because her father was a Lighting Technician (I can’t make this up people), it was the bright lights of the music industry that got her talents buzzing. Like a few notable newcomers, Neon has been a songwriter for years, working with some of Pop’s most prestigious members including Ke$ha and Bruno Mars. Although she’s easily had one of the strangest of upbringings, Neon is clear on who she is and incorporates that unique sensibility into her musical style. “The only thing that I’ve had problems with is accepting I’m a freak show, and now I embrace it because that’s who I am.”

To say that the trapeze artist, fire swinger and of course recording artist, has an interesting personality is at best, a half truth. She’s out there, more than words can fully describe, and yet, her music and style hardly seem to fall short of living up to her crazy background. “I get my style from my mom. She’s just a crazy hippie who lives in a bus in Whales, and she is completely isolated [from] the outside world. But she is so ahead of the game with fashion and she doesn’t even know it. I don’t know exactly what’s in fashion but I know what I like, and that’s important to me because that represents who I am.” And what usually represents Neon is not what one would consider mainstream or “normal” at all, but Neon is what she says she is and her musical journey is no different.

After traveling the world in a caravan, Neon followed her boyfriend to India where she spent two years watching over children.  When she returned to the UK, she signed with The Beats Recordings, a label led by British rapper Mike Skinner (soon-to-be-formerly of The Streets and most recently a member of D.O.T. alongside Rob Harvey) and his manager Ted Mayhem. She was finally able to live out her dream of making music and touring, but eventually, all sweet stories turn sour. And when Skinner’s labeled collapsed, Neon was left homeless in England with nothing more than a MySpace page and crumbled visions. Yet, the interesting life of Neon Hitch only became more interesting after she received a MySpace message from Benny Blanco’s manager James Johnson.

“Life is full of ups and downs… I was already signed to Mike Skinner’s label and it was amazing, but his label folded. So when I thought, ‘Shit, what am I going to do?’ Just when you think you’ve hit rock bottom, some magical thing enters your life. So he hit me up on MySpace and he flew me to New York when I was homeless.  So it’s ALWAYS important to keep the hope.”

Being the spontaneous and optimistic person that she is, Neon sprung on the plane, and in the words of Hip-Hop emcee Stalley, “Funny how a flight can make your life change.” Meeting James and Benny instantly changed the game, as Neon began to write songs with and for some hitmakers. The experience lead to her first big break, Ke$ha’s “Blah Blah Blah.”  “Me and Ke$ha are pretty dangerous together. The first time we met we clicked. She’s wild like I am. We just drunk some whiskey, sat on a bench and wrote ‘Blah Blah Blah.’  So to celebrate, we went and got tattoos in Harlem and took the subway, which is something she can’t do now.”  Neon also struck a friendship with Hawaiian born singer/songwriter Peter Gene Hernandez, who most of us know under a different name. “Before I was signed and before he was Bruno Mars, we were writing together back in the day for outside placements and we met back up when we were putting my album together. He’s truly great.”

These days Neon is focused on creating music for herself, even though if you scour YouTube, you can find a great number of covers she’s done from Kreayshawn’s “Gucci Gucci” to Travis McCoy’s “Billionaire”, not to mention adding her own flair to Hip-Hop from Mac Miller, Wiz Khalifa and Waka Flocka. But her real introduction to the world is “Bad Dog”, an up-tempo single off of her debut album Beg, Borrow, and Steal, which hasn’t been released yet. Still, Neon doesn’t spare any details. “I feel like it’s taken my whole life to make this album, and all the inspiration I’ve had like travel and upbringing is being put into this album. It’s like my musical biography and you’ll follow my journey up until today. It’s got lots of different styles, and it’s all connected and has a thread. There’s so many styles of music like the electric, up-tempo music, some kind of Hip-Hopy songs and some powerful ballads.”

Working with producers like Rico Love, Jim Johnson and Benny Blanco, Neon shouldn’t have trouble finding the right tunes to carry her spirited and whimsical approach to song-making. While her next single will be released “extremely soon,” she says, Neon remains hopeful that her album will come out in early 2012. Right now, she’s prepping the release of two-three songs before then to warm us up, to ready us for her melting pot of experiences that may be too much for us to consume raw at the moment. She’s got the bad dogs in mind. She wants to tame all of them, especially rapper Waka Flocka. “I love him and it would be pretty dope to make him my bad dog!” 

Be careful though Hitch, while you may have the call of the wild, we hear Komondor’s are pretty hard to train.

Follow @NeonHitch on Twitter.

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