If you think you don’t already know who Neon Hitch is, then think twice. Her 2012 single “Fuck U Betta” has over four million views on YouTube, and she’s been featured on tracks by Gym Class Heroes and 3OH!3. The self-titled “gypsy pop-singer” was a co-writer on Kesha’s “Blah Blah Blah” and other pop releases.
One year since leaving Warner Bros. Records before the debut of her first album, Neon has found freedom in the love of her fans who help keep her music alive through a fan-powered music label that the singer-songwriter formed last summer. The label, #WeRNeon, puts responsibilities of major record labels into the hands of fans — the people who really benefit from the music. The entire concept changes the way music is created, marketed and distributed by giving power to the people who care about the music most.
Neon’s working harder than ever to guarantee this year’s release of her first album, Eleutheromaniac, which she says will be available on iTunes soon. Actually, Neon Hitch is unstoppable. There’s no artist more dedicated to her work than one who takes an interview over the phone while in the hospital recovering from an unexpected health matter. Don’t worry, though — Neon is fine and will be filming the music video for her new single “Sparks” just hours after her stay. Unstoppable.
Three songs have been released to iTunes to promote her new album: “Yard Sale,” “Freedom,” and “Sparks,” with the last being the album’s official first single. In our interview below, POPULOVE readers get a glimpse into Neon’s world, her limitless personality, and even a free download from Eleutheromaniac.
POPULOVE: You were signed to Warner Bros. Records when your first album was made, and you left the year it was expected to drop. What factors helped you make the decision to leave the label?
Neon Hitch: Like any bad relationship, they just come to an end, you know? Yeah, I had an album, but it was not coming out, so there was not really anything for me there. I believe in taking matters into your own hands, and that’s what I do. I’m a warrior, and I fight through anything. I’ll take something tragic, and I’ll turn it into something magic.
P: I personally think that you made a responsible and highly respectable choice. How has your life and career improved in the past year since you started your fan-powered label?
NH: My fans are everything to me. They do everything… They’re more than a label. They do all of my artwork. I feel like they know me better than I do, and they come up with the greatest ideas. They keep me inspired. They make me happy, and they give me life. As long as I’m happy and feeling fulfilled and being able to release music, then I’m succeeding.
P: I know that your cover art for “Sparks” was designed by a fan on #WeRNeon. Were you expecting your fans to become as involved as they are?
NH: My fans were already very proactive, it was just really the matter of embracing it. Making it a team was a lot more hard work, obviously, which I guess just takes some adjusting. Every big step comes with a lot of commitment but you’ve got to just step up and get it done.
P: You have an album coming out this year. What can you tell me about Eleutheromaniac?
NH: If I could put it out today, I would. I do know this: I will find a way, and it’s going to be out very soon. I’ve put my blood, sweat and tears into it. I’ve had all of these singles out and have the success that I’ve had and still not been able to have an album out, so it’s kind of crazy. It’s long-awaited, and I think that the wait is very much worth it.
P: Like with any artist, the sound of your music changes as you grow. How do you describe the songs on this album?
NH: The album has a lot of different kinds of sounds. There’s up-tempos and down-tempos and dreamer songs and journey songs and club bangers. It kind of has everything in there, and it was really hard to cut it down to an album length. That was the trickiest part. It’s like, “Wow, I have so much music. How do I cut it down to a typical album?” But I’m not a typical artist, and I’m not going a typical route any more. I’m now more free to think outside of the box as far as release schedules go. With the funding, there’s no fucking stopping me. I have songs for days. I could put a song out each day for five years right now, and every song is fucking great.
P: When you have that much music, that much content, what do you have to fight through to get your album out?
NH: Funding is key, first of all. Some of my producers have been very generous and flexible, but we’re in this transition where everybody’s got their minds on this typical format of “You gotta pay 50 grand a track, and the release goes like this, and you can only put one album out per six months,” and the structure is bollox. People need to wake up and start the revolution, because the revolution is happening whether you want to admit it or not. I’m a business woman, and I’m quite crafty, so I’m just making it happen my own way.
P: You call your music gypsy pop, and a lot of your music has elements of music from other cultures. What does gypsy pop mean to you personally?
NH: With pop, I have such sensibility when I’m writing, I can’t help it. The “gypsy” for me just transcends into a world element. I’m a world traveller, and I’ve picked up inspiration from all the different countries and all the different scenes I’ve been in. I feel like “gypsy pop” just kind of describes everything. I am a gypsy, and Neon Hitch is my real name.
P: I was playing one song for a friend a couple weeks ago. He is in school in New York City but just moved there from Pakistan, and he had a little freak out moment when he heard a sitar in “Some Like It Hot.” He was instantly in love, so I told him I’d tell you (laughs).
NH: I love sitar! I love that shit, absolutely.
P: There’s a trend in the music industry right now of today’s biggest stars collaborating with huge stars from our parents’ generation. Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett. Kanye West and Paul McCartney, now Rihanna and Paul McCartney. If you had the opportunity to record a track with a living legend, who would it be?
NH: That’s tough because I would pick John Lennon, and he’s sadly not with us. Lennon is my favorite. I have so much respect for Paul McCartney, too, but Lennon was always my favorite. Of living legends, though, Madonna. She’s the one. For awhile, my friend who’s a huge Madonna fan would keep me up to date, and it turns out recently two of our song titles are the same. Either of us could never have known because they’re both unreleased, and we haven’t worked together. It’s just very weird. We have a lot of similarities without even knowing, so we must be on some kind of similar energy wave, path or something. I think she would be amazing to collaborate with.
P: A fan named Lauren on Twitter asks, “How does it feel when people get tattoos dedicated in your honor?”
NH: It’s CRAZY. I’ve been seeing a lot recently, and I’m like “OH MY GOD, I don’t want your parents to hate me,” but at the same time I’m like “That’s. Fucking. Dope.”
P: Kaleb asks “When do you plan to tour Eleutheromaniac album?” Since the album doesn’t have a release date, I’m sure you don’t know specific timeframes yet, but what schedule are you expecting to sort of be on?
NH: We just put out the first single “Sparks,” and we’re shooting the video for that on Friday. The video is going to be insane. I’m really excited about the song, too. It’s kind of like the leading song from the album. “Yard Sale” is like the hype song, and “Sparks” is more in-depth and a lot more passionate. I have the second single lined up, which is for my gay fans, and I think they’re going to love it. Then I’m planning the album release date, after the second single.
P: On your website, you say “Eleutheromaniac means a creature that needs freedom. I know that’s me, and I know that’s all of my fans, and even people who aren’t my fans.” Your love for your fans is clear, but mention of “people who aren’t fans” is rare from an artist. So for anyone reading this interview who hasn’t heard your music before and isn’t a fan, what do you most want them to know about you or your music?
NH: What people mostly experience with me, even people that hate me, okay? I walk into a room, and I leave people feeling different. I’m like a fairy, and I touch them with this little bit of fairy dust. Even when I see the hate in somebody’s eyes, I’ll give them this smile and just look into their souls, and I’ll kind of fuck their head up. But… they love it. Like, they feel better. I don’t know what it is, but I put that power into my music, and it just changes the way people feel. It can even turn a hater around. That’s my message, it’s like, lighten up. It could always be worse. I move to inspire and to open people’s minds, really.
You can download “Freedom” from Neon’s upcoming album Eleutheromaniac for FREE here, and don’t forget to buy “Sparks” and “Yard Sale” on iTunes. The music video for “Sparks” drops in the next few weeks. Check back on POPULOVE for the latest updates on Neon Hitch and more of your favorite artists.
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