Jennifer Zulli
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Jennifer Zulli

Newtown, Connecticut, United States

Newtown, Connecticut, United States
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"Lyme Disease Leads Musician Back to her Roots"

Lyme Disease Leads Musician Back To Her Roots
10/15/2009
By Nancy K. Crevier



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Jennifer Zulli put her songwriting career on hold until a brush with Lyme disease led her back to her heart’s desire. Her recent CD, called Daimon, is a collection of songs reflecting on life’s questions and working through difficulties.Newtown resident Jennifer Zulli has been a singer/songwriter/pianist since her high school days in Long Island, when she made the circuit of coffee houses there, performing her original music. But life, marriage and motherhood sent the Eastchester, N.Y. music teacher on a different path for several years. It took a brush with a life-threatening illness to help her see that it was time for her to return to her heart's desire: making her own music.

"After years performing in coffee houses in New York City and Long Island, I switched to musical education in college, listening to everyone else's dream of what I should be," said Ms Zulli. "I love teaching children, but it is really different from creating your own music."

In 2006, with a two-month old baby, Ms Zulli began to experience unusual physical and neurological problems.

"I had severe headaches, I was exhausted, I forgot words, I forgot what things were. It was awful. I could barely focus or take care of my daughter," recalled Ms Zulli. "I remember driving home from New York and bopping myself in the head just to stay awake for the hour commute. At night, I couldn't sleep, because I was too tired," she recalled.

Doctors initially passed off her symptoms as postpartum depression, the flu, or the adjustment to motherhood.

"Then," she said, "they started talking brain tumor, but none of the tests confirmed that."

All along, at the back of her foggy mind, she had an inkling that what afflicted her was Lyme disease.

"I must have been bitten by a tick. I remember my body itching all over one night, and I was achy, but I never had a bull's eye rash, and my Lyme test was negative." Her symptoms became worse, until finally, after eight months of misery, a second Lyme test confirmed that she had the disease.

"Not only that, I had another tick disease, ehrlichiosis, which I think is even worse," said Ms Zulli. A month of treatment relieved her symptoms temporarily, but when she went off of the course of antibiotics, her symptoms returned with a vengeance. "I found myself accompanying the kids at school on the piano, and I couldn't remember the notes. I looked at the page of music, and I did not know the notes. It was scary," she said.

It was not until she found a doctor specializing in the treatment of Lyme disease and started a two-year antibiotic treatment, and began implementing holistic interventions, that she began to recover. "I still experience some of the symptoms, like the twitching and forgetting words, but I feel functional again," Ms Zulli said.

Feeling physically fatigued, she realized she felt spiritually fatigued, as well, and began to search out answers not only to her illness, but also to where she was in life and where she wanted to be.

In December 2008, she began to write music again. "I was using a meditation, and it formed into a song in my head. The songs started to pour out of me," she said. "Every day now, I try to do something musical. It makes my spirit and soul feel alive."

Working through her experience with Lyme disease has been the worst experience of her life, said Ms Zulli, but it has also taught her important lessons.

"I'm learning to balance things. I used to be on overdrive all the time. And I'm following my heart," she said.

The result has been a CD of her own music that fell together in just four months of work. Daimon is a compilation of songs that reflect on her healing, such as "More Than My Skin" and "Still." Change, giving way, and grappling with questions are recurring themes throughout the album, aimed at an audience of other "seekers."

The name of the CD album refers to the Greek term for good and bad demons. Good daimons were believed to give guidance and protection; bad daimons ruled bad judgment.

"At the lowest point of my illness, all the things that were the worst about me became my daimons," said Ms Zulli. "But I found that when you shine a light on your daimons, they become your 'diamonds.'

"The song 'More Than My Skin' is about knowing that your body is not all that there is to you," continued the musician. "With 'Still,' it is about quieting yourself and listening to the voice inside of you."

Other pieces on the album, a mix of coffee house style and New Age music, are more meditative, acoustic pieces. "C" is based on the note of the root chakra, which governs physical self-preservation, and is meditative. Chakras, according to traditional Indian medicine, receive and transmit energy in the body.

"These songs are about giving up control, letting life happen to you where you are, and listening to your intuition," Ms Zulli explained. "'What Is Life' is a song about looking for answers, and questioning pat answers. It's a lesson I learned from my Lyme experience," she said.

"Through my music, I really want to let others know they are not alone in their journeys through chronic illness and pain, and any other difficult life circumstance they may have. It may be a source of inspiration to look inside for some great lessons they need to learn about themselves and to follow their heart and spirit. Once I really started to face things about me and things that I most feared, my true healing began," Ms Zulli said.

She has returned not only to writing and recording her music, but performing it. In September, she performed "Still" and "More Than My Skin" at the Lyme Walk in White Plains, N.Y., and was featured at the Blue Z Coffee House in Newtown. She will perform at Mocha Coffeehouse on Glen Road in Sandy Hook Center this Friday, October 16, and is scheduled for a reappearance at The Blue Z Coffee House, at 127 South Main Street, in November.

Her music can be accessed at iTunes, and can be heard at myspace.com/jenniferzulli.

"It's good to be performing again. I'm still teaching, but I'm doing this now, too," said Ms Zulli. "I feel like I was supposed to be on this path the whole time."
- The Newtown Bee


"VH1 Song Of the year Winner Oct 09"

Winner

Jennifer Zulli - Still



Finalists

Darrell Smith - Ordinary Christmas
Jacquelyn Moore - True Love
Debra Bodily - The Little Lamb
Aurora Mandell - On Christmas

http://www.songoftheyear.com/winners/2009/102009.htm



- VH1 Song of the Year


Discography

Daimon-CD released Aug 2009
some songs from this album currently playing on
IM Radio
Jango Radio
Woman of Substance

"This Christmas" has been selected to play on Woman of Substance Radion for the month of Dec Holiday setlist.

"Mighty World" awarded honorable mention in ISC
"Still" just chosen as VH1 Song of year Oct 09 winner!!!

"Opening" just released Oct 2011.Instrumental, film, ambient

Photos

Bio

Jennifer has written music and stories from a young age, creating has always been a passion of hers. Always knowing deep down she wanted to write and perform her music she had no reason not to follow her heart . After graduating HS Zulli was the first recipient of the B'nai Brith scholarship, a full scholarship awarded to study Music Business at a private music college in LI. She also received numerous awards based on her songwriting. As the recipient of that scholarship, it awarded her the invitation to be invited to dinners honoring musical greats such as Les Paul, Gloria Estefan, Clint Black, Vanessa Williams,Tommy Mattola and others. This was an amazing start right out of HS . During the first 2 years of college she sang in gospel choirs, and studied classical piano and voice . Zulli was writing and playing in the newly popular coffee house circuit in LI.

Then life happened....."so many people family friends alike would say ‘you would make the perfect music teacher, it's a steady paycheck, or you shouldn't put all your eggs in one basket’!

"And after hearing this over and over I started to think that having a job was more important than following MY dream and my heart's desire". Jennifer decided to pursue music education and completed BA and MA in Music/Music Ed.

After teaching for a few years Zulli knew something was missing. She came home exhausted after teaching 600+ students a week and the last thing that came to mind was writing music. Then about 2 years ago she became very sick, fatally sick with a disease that affected not only her body but her mind...
"it was the most traumatic, lowest, but equally life saving event in my life. It helped me find my soul and passion again. I learned to meditate and listen to my intuition, and most importantly find MY voice and a sound that is unique to me"

Since 2009, Zulli has been steadily writing and recording. In August 2009 she released her first CD in 10 years titled "Daimon".She has won songwriting competitions including VH1 Song of the Year and placing in ISC and her music is currently played on radio stations online Recording two new albums which are very uniquely different from each other, Zulli continues to perform on the east coast in coffeehouses and intimate venues; and is also focusing on composing music for healing and working towards a concurrent career in sound healing.

"My life experiences have influenced me and my music tremendously; my main focus is to connect on a deep human level with my audience. I have a lot of life to write about, being in chronic pain, feeling empty, losses, and fears all the things people never talk about! I have much more life experience to work with now than back in college, my music in much richer ”