A 26-year-old English woman has had to undergo surgery to remove a portion of her brain in a bid to stop seizures which she says are triggered by the sound of r’n’b singer Ne-Yo’s music.
Zoe Fennessy told The Daily Mail she experiences epileptic seizures within seconds of hearing Ne-Yo’s vocals. “I’ll be walking around the supermarket doing my food shopping and I have to put my earphones in to listen to my own music just in case it comes on,” she said.
She claims the seizures make her freeze, vomit and unable to react to the world around her. Fennessy said she had her first seizure in 2006 and was diagnosed with epilepsy in 2008. It wasn’t until about 2011, when Ne-Yo and Pitbull’s Give Me Everything hit the charts, that she experienced her first music-induced attack.
She then noticed a pattern. “It took me a while to realise that they were being triggered by his songs,” she explained. “It wasn’t until I’d heard it for about the 15th time that it finally twigged what was going on.”
Upon raising this pattern with her doctors, Fennessy was diagnosed with musicogenic seizures – a recognised condition, according to the US National Library of Medicine, where a certain type of music induces seizures in people. “Whenever I hear the first few beats of the song I have to drop whatever I am doing and run,” she said, adding that she doesn’t even dislike Ne-Yo.
“[Doctors] are saying it could possibly be something in the tone of his voice, something like that, but it doesn’t happen when I hear Usher, or people like him who have a very similar sound. It is only him, only Ne-Yo.”
In June, Fennessy underwent a six-hour long operation to remove a part of her left temporal lobe, where doctors thought her seizures may originate. While she says the symptoms of her epilepsy have reduced, Fennessy claims Ne-Yo’s voice still induces fits.
“People might think it is funny – and I can laugh at it myself – but it has taken over my life. It’s ruined my life,” she said. “If he ever releases a greatest hits album it’s going to be a nightmare.”
See the track that sparked it all below. Warning: it may induce seizures.