Zoë Nutt Reveals Hearing Loss, Chooses Hope in Powerful Video for “Like You”

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Since first realizing she was going deaf at 8 years old, folk singer Nutt has experienced hearing loss and tinnitus, a constant high-pitched ringing in her ears. She’s also experienced a lot of fear. In a new song, “Like You,” Nutt sings to her future children about all the things she won’t be able to hear them say–but through the repetition of the hook, assures them, nevertheless: “no one will ever sound like you.”

All proceeds from the single, available for download via Noisetrade, will be donated to the Hearing Loss Association of America.

Nutt’s official statement on “Like You”:

I am going deaf. And I want people to know. We are all dealing with issues in our lives, but we don’t have to be defined by our problems. I’d rather define my life by how I’m dealing with my problems. It’s a strange feeling to be releasing a music video about losing my ability to hear, but it’s the hand I’ve been dealt and one that I plan to overcome. This music video represents the start of my story and I’m very excited to write the next chapter.

I’m on a timer, and there’s no way to know when my world will go silent, tomorrow or years from now. I was crying over the page in my notebook, finally letting the news sink in. You’re not going to be able to hear. The bulk of “Like You” was written in the fear of that moment. It’s a letter to the children I hope to have one day. It’s been my way to come to terms with not knowing what’s going to happen in the years to come. But releasing this music video has been more than just a letter to a possible future. It’s most importantly the start of a conversation I’ve been longing to have with others. I am going deaf, but I will not let it stop me from making music.

When I first recorded a demo of “Like You,” I was having a tough time getting people to relate to how I hear the world around me. I couldn’t sleep at night due to the harsh ringing in my ears. I was convinced I’d go crazy over it. To add to those fears, simply trying to have a conversation was an uphill battle I usually lost. Hearing loss is a hidden disability to most, and unless you are willing to tattoo it on your forehead people forget that you can’t hear them in certain environments. You hate to ask them to repeat everything, so often you stand on the outside of conversation, nod politely, and hope to catch the next word. When I recorded the song I decided to add a high pitched ringing in the background, just like what I hear. The first time I played it for my friends I turned the volume way up and watched them shift in their seats. I had their attention. There was something very liberating about adding my ringing to the song. Finally, I saw in their faces a glimpse of fear and understanding of what I was going through 24/7. And from then on I knew I had something special to share and somehow I’d make this painful situation into something beautiful.

I purposely released this music video after my album’s release. I am not one to define myself by my hearing loss. It will always shape me, but it should never be the pinnacle of what makes me Zoë. The music video itself was a joint effort between me and my hometown friend Ben Nelson. It was an off the cuff shoot in Knoxville, TN. Ben placed a camera in front of me and I said the first things that came to mind. We ran around to various spots in Knoxville that I had connections to, and placed emphasis on sound and visuals as it relates to my hearing loss. And so it was born!

Watch “Like You”:

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