Musical Muse: Peep Inside Neon Hitch's Downtown Pad

If you watch American Idol, The Voice, or even America's Got Talent (guilty, guilty, never!), you know that there's something intangible about an amazing singer beyond her voice — the je ne sais quoi that turns a set of a windpipes into a bona fide star. In modern times, we call this swagger, and NYC singer Neon Hitch has it in spades. We managed to sit down for an exclusive interview and photo shoot with Neon (yes, that's her real name!) — in between her performing the top-of-the-charts Gym Class Heroes hit, "Ass Back Home," and readying her own debut album with the breakout single, "Fuck U Betta" — to get the scoop on all things Hitch.
What we found is all we could hope for from a rising pop sensation: over-the-top sunglasses, headdresses for every day of the week, and a rags-to-riches story unlike any we've ever heard (her mother still lives in a bus in Wales). Not only are we dubbing Neon Hitch the next downtown style star, we're dubbing her the Next Big Thing.
Click through to meet the next best Britney/Ke$ha combo and find out why we love her SO much more.
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What's new in the Neon Hitch universe?
"Everything is magical in the Neon Hitch universe. It always has been and always will be. Things just keep getting better."

Who are your greatest influences, both musically and style-wise?
"Style-wise, my mom is my biggest influence. Musically, The Beatles. They’re both extremely creative."

Vintage dress and collected jewelry.

Photographed by Aaron Richter
2 of 16
Who makes your headdresses?
"A girl in L.A. makes them. Her company is Miss G Designs. [She makes] a lot of them."

Photographed by Aaron Richter
3 of 16
What goes through your mind as you’re dressing for a performance? What drives you to dress the way you do — comfort or style or both?
"Never comfort! I don’t know what style is but I guess I create my own style. Definitely, coming from the circus has inspired my fashion. So, I just wear things that make me stand out and make me feel like a magical gypsy fairy."

Dress made by Neon, belt by Moschino, shoes by Steve Madden, headband made by Neon, ring from L.A, earrings from L.A...

Photographed by Aaron Richter
4 of 16
Any look or designer you're dying to wear in future performances?
"I make a lot of the stuff myself. I feel like making clothes yourself is great because you can get it exactly the way you want it. I do love Patricia Field and I wear a lot of her clothes. I love Mara Hoffman. I wore her clothes in my video 'Ass Back Home.' I think she’s amazing."

Dress from Zero + Maria Cornejo, sunglasses by Mercura N.Y.Cm Jeffrey Campbell shoes.

Photographed by Aaron Richter
5 of 16
Could you talk a little bit about your background and your interesting family?
"My great-great grandfather… or was it great-great-great? He was great, anyway! He was fantastic. He was the last person in his area in England to live in a cave. I've seen the cave and we have pictures of it, too. And my mom still lives in the bus in Wales. It’s a pretty interesting family I have!"

Photographed by Aaron Richter
6 of 16
What’s your favorite thing to wear on stage?
"I love headdresses. Usually, I like to wear leotards because I do dance a lot, so it’s good to be able to as glitzy as the leotard can be."

Black bodysuit by American Apparel, headdresses from Miss G Designs and a vintage Thai headdress worn together.

Photographed by Aaron Richter
7 of 16
You mentioned you made your headband and dress, what goes through your mind when you’re making something? And when did you start making your own clothes and jewelry?
"I started making my own stuff when I was a child and we had no money, and my mom was like, 'It’s okay we don’t have money to go shopping, but this is how we make clothes and this is how we make jewelry.' So, you never have to be limited by money. You can be fashionable with no money. I just carried it on and it’s usually by accident that I’ll design something. I’ll put it on my head the wrong way and it’ll look great so I’ll keep it there."

You’re obviously into nail art, do you have a particular person or place you go every time?
"Yeah, I go to Valley — they’re on Elizabeth Street. It's great that they’re local. They’re fantastic."

What’s your favorite nail-art design you’ve ever had?
"Before this one, I got like a tribal-print design. It was all black, white, gold, and silver with this amazing tribal design. I’m actually going to get it again tomorrow because it was amazing."

Dress made by Neon, belt by Moschino, shoes by Steve Madden, headband made by Neon, ring from L.A.

Photographed by Aaron Richter
8 of 16
Your look is definitely super bold. Has your personal style always been that way?

"Always. You can watch the documentary of me when I was ten years old. BBC did a documentary about me being a gypsy and traveler. It’s called Neon Hitch EPK Documentary and it shows me still wearing flowery leggings, still wearing leopard print shirts. I’ve always been like this. My mom’s never told me what to wear. She’s always just told me to express myself in whichever way I feel, so that’s what I do."

Photographed by Aaron Richter
9 of 16
What’s your natural hair color and when did you decide to go red?
"Chelsea Pickthorn from Orlando Pita does my hair with a hand-painted ombre technique. She’s always done my hair....I don’t remember! I guess black is my natural color. I’ve been red since I was 12 years old. I started with Henna, so it was more subtle red and it’s just gotten more intense over the years. It’s just like, 'How far can I push this?'"

What's your go-to outfit on your days off?
"I would say, stretchy pants, usually leopard-print stretchy pants. I like my biker boots and… I like headdresses on a day off, too!"

Vintage dress and collected jewelry.

Photographed by Aaron Richter
10 of 16
What are your five favorite beauty items you can’t live without?
"Face wipes because I’m traveling so much and need to keep my makeup off my face at night. I love everything Dermalogica — that’s what I use. Red lipstick by MAC — that’s a total must. Mascara is also something a girl can’t live without. I like Rimmel. And lipgloss, which you can also use on your cheeks to make you look fresh when you’re tired."

What’s one trend or look you’d never be caught dead in?
"I guess something really normal! You’d never see me in anything regular! Never!"

Photographed by Aaron Richter
11 of 16
If you could raid anyone's closet (past or present) who's would it be?
"Madonna! Yeah, I wanna wear that pointy bra! You reckon she still has that?"

Let’s talk tattoos — how many do you have and what’s your favorite one?
"(Counts) Six. Six tattoos. My favorites are my sister’s name 'Pema' on my arm and the 'Amy' tattoo because it was my girl Amy Winehouse to remember her."

Photographed by Aaron Richter
12 of 16
You were discovered on MySpace. How did that affect you and your career?
"MySpace changed my life! I was homeless and Benny Blanco’s manager emailed me on MySpace and he flew me out to meet him. I had no money, he paid for everything. If I didn’t have MySpace, there's no way that I could’ve connected with someone in another country. I’m so grateful for MySpace, it totally changed my life."

Photographed by Aaron Richter
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You've collaborated with artists like Ke$ha, Sky Ferreira, and Gym Class Heroes. Who else are you dying to work with?
"I would love to work with Madonna. I feel like she’s the ultimate dream collaboration."

If your life could have a theme song, what would it be?
"It would have to be something insane! It would be 'Somewhere Over The Rainbow,' absolutely! Judy Garland, 'Somewhere Over The Rainbow.'"

Photographed by Aaron Richter
14 of 16
Where do you buy things for your house?
"I usually find stuff for my house at vintage markets. My favorite is the one in L.A. They’ve got great furniture, amazing. I think vintage markets are the best."

Photographed by Aaron Richter
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What song(s) has been on repeat on your playlist right now?
"I’ve been listening to a lot of Drake. But, mainly I listen to a lot of old music. I love the Beatles, I love Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald."

Give us the scoop on SXSW. Did you have any crazy fan stories?
"Yeah, it was pretty insane. It’s crazy now when the fans know the lyrics to the songs — that’s really magical. It’s the best feeling ever. There was a little wardrobe malfunction that was quite a crazy story. There’s this one dance move where I go up on my drummer's shoulders and then I open my legs for the last shot. This time my costume came to the side and I had to put my hand in front of my nunn, and VH1 got the picture that looks like… it’s very rude! I can’t even look at it. That was an embarrassing wardrobe malfunction, but it’s all good. Rock on!"

Black bodysuit by American Apparel, headdresses from Miss G Designs and a vintage Thai headdress worn together.

Photographed by Aaron Richter
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What’s your favorite song to perform?
"'F*ck U Betta.' The energy is just so high and the crowd loves it and I love performing it... I write songs about sex in my bed! It's always about something really sad or something really happy."

Vintage dress and collected jewelry.

Photographed by Aaron Richter