Ne-Yo’s Music Gives Woman Seizures, Requires Removal of Part of Her Brain

Ne-Yo’s music drives me crazy–I’m not a fan–but imagine what it was like for twenty-six year-old Zoe Fennessy. Every time she heard one of his songs, she suffered an epileptic seizure. It got so bad that whenever she ventured out of her house, she had to wear headphones lest she accidentally be exposed to, say, “Give Me Everything.”

Zoe suffers from a condition called “musicogenic seizures” and for neurologically unknown reasons, the sound of Ne-Yo’s voice caused an electrical storm in her brain. I quote from Factmag:

“It took me a while to realise that they were being triggered by his songs, and I think it wasn’t until I had heard it for about the 15th time that it finally twigged what was going on,” she said.

“The song was really popular and I went to my consultant and I said ‘I know this sounds extremely bizarre, but every time I hear this song I have a seizure’.

“He said it was fascinating and that he had never heard anything like it, and I said that while it might be fascinating, I was really struggling – the song was everywhere at the time.”

Back in June Zoe underwent a six-hour operation that saw the removal of a large part of her left temporal lobe, the area of her brain doctors thought might be responsible for the seizures. It helped, but didn’t alleviate all the symptoms. Again from Factmag:

“If he ever releases a greatest hits album it’s going to be a nightmare. Whenever I hear the first few beats of the song I have to drop whatever I am doing and run.

“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.”


Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

Alan Cross has 37821 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

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