She is slowly taking over the United States having appeared at Lollapalooza last summer and working on her debut album Beg, Borrow, and Steal ever since. She stopped the show at the NewNowNext Awards and recently has blow up on the radio singing on the chorus of “Ass Back Home” by Gym Class Heroes.
Nunn talked to her at her hotel when she was in town performing at a recent concert.
Jerry Nunn: Hi, Neon. When did you get into town?
Neon Hitch: About two hours ago. It has been nonstop.
JN: Thanks so much for doing this interview.
NH: No, thank you.
JN: So you are from London?
NH: I am not really from anywhere. I am a woman of the world. I grew up on a bus so the world is my home. But I have spent a long time in London.
JN: Your backstory is very interesting.
NH: It is quite bizarre.
JN: You have had a different kind of life.
NH: I have and it continues to be interesting (both laugh)
JN: You have always liked performing?
NH: Always. I have always been a performer from day one.
JN: Your family were performers, correct?
NH: My mother was a gymnast and she was in the circus. My dad is behind the scenes. He does the lights so it’s been an entertainment lifestyle for me.
JN: Where did they come up with your name?
NH: My dad is a lighting technician so lights are a big part of his life. There were three options, this is how crazy my parents are, Brown Rice, Zizigeratzanzibarzandos or Neon. Lucky I got Neon.
JN: I would have trouble spelling the Zizi.
NH: Yeah, it gets tricky.
JN: Is that the name of a performer?
NH: I don’t even know. He just created it I think.
JN: Did they give you a middle name?
NH: It was going to be Zizigeratzanzibarzandos but that it might cause some problems on my passport!
JN: Can you imagine spelling that every day of your life?
NH: I know.
JN: You have done street performing and been in the circus.
NH: As long as I am performing I am happy.
JN: You lived in India for a while?
NH: I did. I was a rebellious teenager. I made my mum crazy by running away from home and going to India. I was soul searching and trying to find my place in the world. I was a little adult but felt very grown up at the time.
JN: Then you came back and met Neneh Cherry.
NH: She is such an inspirational woman. I didn’t have my family around so she took me on and was kind of like my mom. Then her husband started managing me. We had this family and it was built around music. It was beautiful.
JN: You worked with Sia.
NH: I did eventually. I had been stalking Sia for a long time. I have been a huge fan of hers for years and years, before she had got known in America. Once I made it over to America I finally got the chance to work with her. Dream big, it happens!
JN: Amen! I interviewed her before but now she is a bigger deal. I heard both of you in my car on the radio on the way here.
JN: The Gym Class Heroes song must be great exposure for you.
NH: It always comes on at the most magical times. I was just pulling up to the hotel and it was the pull up song.
JN: I missed you at Lollapalooza but that must have been a great experience.
NH: Oh yeah. That was the beginning of it. I was just saying that I loved doing that and it was so much fun.
JN: Let’s talk about your single “Fuck U Betta.” Is it hard to market a song with the F-word in the title?
NH: Well, I have been marketing the “Love U Betta” the clean version but still you know people try to be rather conservative. I push the boundaries as far as I can. Some people like it and sometimes I am just too much for some people. What are you gonna do?
JN: The audience is different in Europe than America.
NH: It is even different in parts of America say in New York or Chicago than Minneapolis. Within America the audience is so diverse.
JN: The NewNowNext Awards got all of your gay fans going.
NH: That was amazing. By the way, my favorite audience ever is my gays! I love them. I had a headdress that was taller than me, which isn’t hard but way bigger than I am.
JN: That must have been hard to maneuver.
NH: It was quite difficult yeah.
JN: I wonder how Cher does it? Did a cover of “Gucci Gucci.” Are you a big fan of Kreayshawn?
NH: I think she is a very cool girl. She has a swagger about her that I have to respect. I just picked a bunch of rap songs that I was digging and I could put my own twist on. That was one of them. It was a nice little catchy number.
JN: Definitely. It was your own take on it and not a copy.
NH: I just turned it into something more soulful and more my style.
JN: Is there someone that you are dying to work with but haven’t?
NH: John Lennon but that is not going to happen anytime soon.
JN: Maybe Elton John but not John Lennon.
NH: Right! There are so many people that I would like to work with. Madonna would definitely be at the top of my list. What a legend. That is the ultimate dream.
JN: So you are performing at Drink Nightclub later.
NH: Yes, are you coming?
JN: I have never been out there.
NH: Now have I. It will be my first time too.
JN: When does this new album come out?
NH: We are putting out another single before the album coming soon then the album will follow.
JN: Is the album going to be very dance oriented?
NH: It has a lot of dance but it is very soulful and passionate. It has a lot of feeling. I did some tracks with Greg Kurstin who has worked with Sia a lot. They are very musical and beautiful. It is mixture but it all blends together perfectly.
JN: I love the title Beg, Borrow, and Steal.
NH: It represents my journey, my hustle!
JN: It must have a lot of you in this album.
NH: It really does. You know my music is my musical outlet so you really get to feel from the music who I really am.
JN: I heard Bruno Mars and Imogen Heap are both on the record.
NH: I have worked with so many fantastic people on this album. I am so lucky.
JN: I am so happy for you because you have worked your way up. Nobody gave you anything.
NH: I have worked very hard.
JN: We want to get you out to the gay clubs.
JN: When are you coming back?
NH: As soon as you book a show! I will be back definitely.
JN: I love the hair color by the way. When did you decide to do that?
NH: It slowly got brighter and brighter. I have been working with the same colorist for three years now. I get a little crazier every time!