June 2020 Knoxville News Sentinel
In 2018, singer-songwriter Zoë Nutt woke up one morning and could barely hear a thing.
Nutt, 26, has struggled with hearing loss her entire life, losing total hearing in her right ear when she was 8 years old, but this sensation was different, unexpected and came at the worst time. She was in college, studying music and hoping to launch her music career. She was unsure how she would continue with the new loss of hearing in her one functioning ear.
The hearing didn't come back, so she learned a new way to hear that mostly relied on patience.
"Up until I was 25, I had these episodes where I might not be able to hear anyone for a month at a time. Then, I'd have to reteach myself how to hear all over again," Nutt said. During those years, Nutt was also trying to figure out what kind of artist she wanted to be. "I knew I wanted to do music, so while I was wondering why I had been bestowed with this frustrating hearing loss, I decided that I wanted to be a songwriter and perform my songs."
Living as someone with an impairment that held her back from pursuing her passion, Nutt often felt like an outsider. Her episodes were getting increasingly worse, so she finally decided to halt work on her album and have a cochlear implant put in her completely deaf ear and a hearing aid in the other. "That changed things tremendously for me," Nutt said. She considered giving up plenty of times, but thanks to the support from her mentor and producer Tammi Kidd Hutton, she continued to write and search for answers. A year later, Nutt is ready to release her second album, "How Does It Feel”. "I think I have a better way with words in songs," Nutt said about the upcoming tracks on the album. "To me, songs have always felt like an introduction. It's like I'm saying, 'Hi, my name is Zoë. It's nice to meet you. This is how I feel now.' "
"How Does It Feel" features a variety of sounds inspired by her influences Dido and Sheryl Crow, her personal experiences and the juxtaposition between hard-hitting lyrics and joyful melodies.
"In the songs (on the album), there is a lot of that feeling of being an outsider looking in. They have a happy exterior with a great melody, but the lyrics are a little more sad," Nutt said. "Each song has something to say, but I purposely tried to make them something that is easy to listen to."
"Happy," the first single from the album, is available to stream. Nutt said that the other single from the album is "If That's What It Takes” It is about letting someone you love go and accepting the idea that maybe you weren't the right fit," Nutt said. "I'm really excited about releasing it because it takes a really heavy subject and puts it in a more pop, commercialised form."