Zoe Fennessey hasn’t gone to work in six months. She lives in fear, and it’s all because of Ne-Yo.
Fennessey, 26 doesn’t particularly dislike Ne-Yo’s music, but for whatever reason, his songs can send her into seizures and uncontrollable fits of vomiting. The condition is known as musicogenic epilepsy, and Fennessey’s case has gotten so bad she had brain surgery in an attempt to correct it. It didn’t work.
To avoid a seizure, Fennessey always puts in earbuds when she ventures out in public so she can listen to her own music and avoid any contact with the smooth R&B hits of Ne-Yo.
“People might think it is funny – and I can laugh at it myself – but it has taken over my life,” Fennessey told The Daily Mail. “It’s ruined my life.”
She described to the Daily Mail a recent “nightmare” of a vacation:
She said a recent holiday to Majorca – just after the singer released his song Play Hard with David Guetta – was a ‘nightmare’ with the song playing in every bar.
‘I have had to go up to DJs in places and say ‘look can you not play Ne-Yo’ and they just look at me like I’m an alien,’ said Zoe.
‘[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.’
‘Our holiday this year to Majorca was a nightmare. Honestly it was like being at a Ne-Yo concert – the song was everywhere.
‘I had to stay in the hotel room for most of the holiday because it got so bad.’
She began having non-music related seizures in 2006. Her musical trigger started in 2011, shortly after the release of “Give Me Everything” by Pitbull, featuring Ne-Yo — a number one hit in the UK where Fennessey lives. The problem’s only gotten worse as Ne-Yo featured on more hit tracks, like Calvin Harris’s “Let’s Go” and Calvin Maynard’s “Turn Around,” both of which caused seizures in Fennessey.
Fennessey isn’t the first to have seizures induced by a particular artist. In 2008, Stacey Gale of New Jersey had a similar issue with the music of Sean Paul, and had successful brain surgery to fix the problem.
There may be a connection with an artist’s popularity and the tendency to induce seizures in listeners. A report cited by Gawker says that the seizures may be related to the emotional connection with the music rather than simply containing a magic, vomit-inducing frequency.
The removal of a chunk of her left temporal lobe helped relieve some of her symptoms, but she still has a seizure when she hears Ne-Yo.