Crystal Bowersox has joined Jennifer Hudson and Adam Lambert as American Idol alumns who failed to take the show’s top spot but ended up faring at least as well as its winners in becoming artists with independent careers and identities. Thanks to Idol, Crystal’s identity is more than a little familiar to most: Scrappy folk/roots singer and songwriter with golden dreads and, more importantly, a knockout voice. Below is the video for “Farmer’s Daughter,” the autobiographical single from her debut album of the same name.
The Pains of Being Pure at Heart are no strangers to SXSW. In 2009, they were one of the most buzzed-about bands in the lineup, thanks in part to a debut album that generated a home run in the press. The indie-pop act, including keyboardist/singer Peggy Wang, is releasing their sophomore album, Belong, on March 29. Early word on the street: It’s as catchy as the debut. Here’s the video for Belong‘s first single, “Say No To Love.”
Like Lady Gaga, SXSW artistÂ Neon Hitch is an eccentric-looking singer and songwriter who makes danceable pop. Unlike Lady Gaga, she has a legitimately eccentric background. Neon Hitch (real name, not made up by a producer) grew up traveling in a Gypsy caravan with hippie British parents and performed as a trapeze artist in circuses and freak shows. At 16 she ran away to India without ever having gone to school, but not before her dad gave her CDs by Michael Jackson, Madonna and the Spice Girls — three of her biggest influences. How Neon went from circus act to co-writing Ke$ha‘s “Blah Blah Blah” to signing with a major label for a solo debut (no release date yet) is beyond us. But it’s a good thing she’s excelling as a pop star. Her resume would be a mess without it.