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How Does It Feel
Release date: 7.24.20
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Newcomer Zoë Nutt Debuts Vibrantly Vulnerable “Happy,” Out TodayRead More
Written and recorded in the wake of a cochlear implant surgery intended to save her from complete and total deafness, Zoë Nutt’s intoxicating new album is an ambitious, sophisticated work of artistic defiance, a resilient collection that balances heartache and hope, loss and discovery, faith and fear in equal measure. Though Nutt’s songs rarely address her lifelong battle with hearing loss directly, the record is clearly informed by the maturity and self-awareness she’s developed as a result of her condition. Produced by celebrated songwriter Tammi Kidd Hutton (LeAnn Rimes, Rascal Flatts) along with Ben Phillips (Chris Janson) and Greg Magers (Umphrey’s McGee, Lupe Fiasco) and featuring a guest appearance by Brandy Clark, the record pairs buoyant melodies and bright, punchy horns with deep, insightful lyrics, drawing on country, folk, pop and soul to yield a distinctly modern sound rooted in unflinching vulnerability and relentless optimism.
“When I’m in the studio, I’m not worrying about making something pretty or trendy,” says Nutt. “I’m there to shoot from the heart and make something that resonates. As an artist, all I’ve ever wanted to do is share something real with my audience.”
Born and raised in Knoxville, TN, Nutt fell in love with her parents’ record collection as a youngster, obsessing over everything from Johnny Cash to David Byrne. She developed a passion for singing in high school and began training classically, which led to regular performances in choirs and musicals throughout her teenage years, but it wasn’t until she landed in Nashville for college that Nutt began penning her own original music. In 2018, she headed into the studio to record, but work on the album soon came to a sudden and screeching halt when her hearing began to drastically deteriorate. Forced to confront the prospect that she may be on the road to a full loss of her auditory functions, Nutt took an extended hiatus from recording and performing in order to undergo surgery. While the procedure was a success, it required that she learn how to hear all over again with the help of a cochlear implant and a hearing aid, a process that left her at times feeling both deeply frustrated and profoundly grateful.
“I’ve often felt like I’m on the outside looking in, like I don’t fit in anywhere,” says Nutt, “but my hearing loss has taught me to be strong in ways that I never imagined. It’s taught me to be more present and more appreciative of the moment, and for that, I’m extremely thankful.”
More than most, Zoë Nutt understands that time is precious. The album proves that she’s not taking a minute for granted.