Woman who has a seizure every time she hears Ne-Yo song has part of her brain removed

Zoe Fennessy suffers from rare form of music-sensitive epilepsy

A woman who suffers debilitating seizures every time she hears a Ne-Yo song has had part of her brain removed.

Zoe Fennessy, 26, who has been diagnosed with “musicogenic seizures”, has an epileptic seizure every time she hears the R&B singer’s voice.

In June, she underwent a six-hour long procedure to remove a large portion of her left temporal lobe, where doctors thought the seizures may originate. But though the operation reduced the symptoms of her condition, it did not exterminate it altogether.


Fennessey, who has been unable to work for six months due to her epilepsy, told the Daily Mirror: “I don’t dislike Ne-Yo or his music, it just dislikes me, unfortunately.

“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. It’s the same with most shops. I have to walk in with my ear phones in at first just to make sure they don’t have Ne-Yo on.”

Fennessy suffered her first music-related seizure when Ne-Yo released his hit ‘Give Me Everything’ with Pitbull in 2011, but she didn’t recognise the cause at first.

“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.”

“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.”