AN ALBUM debut is an achievement for anyone – but for Bridport musician Chloe Evans-Lippett it is much more than that.
It is proof that her newly-diagnosed hypermobility syndrome that’s left her wheelchair dependent, in constant pain with hips that dislocate up to 11 times a day, arthritis and short-term memory loss, won’t define her life and her future.
Full-time mum Chloe, 25, and fellow musician Steve Jones will be playing their first album Songbird at Bridport Arts Centre on February 7 and because of Chloe’s condition this will likely be their only public performance.
But ironically it is her disability that led to the album being written in the first place.
Chloe said: “The very first song Steve and I wrote together – the chorus of that song, word for word, is something that my husband said to me one night when I was just falling apart.
“He said you are still you, although you can’t do all you used to do, you have not changed, it is not the end of the world, it is just different’.”
So the duo began writing.
Chloe added: “Writing the album was an amazingly positive thing to have in your life when you just feel like the rug has been pulled out from underneath you.
“What the illness has done for me creatively is that it has taught me to be brave.
“You become so innately vulnerable when you get sick, there’s nothing left to shelter.”
Chloe has been so positive in the face of adversity she has just been asked by her daughter’s head at Bridport Primary School to take an assembly on living with disability.
She said: “The assembly was on reaching your goals and achieving your dreams despite adversity and not giving up. It was wonderful.”
Although her daughter Amelia Rose, 5, has adjusted, said Chloe, they worked hard to make sure she did.
Chloe said: “If anything gives a child a ticket to go completely off the rails I think your mum suddenly becoming disabled when you are three would be a pretty good one.
“She was absolutely allowed to feel cross or sad about it and she doesn’t have to hide that.”
Chloe was only 23 when her troubles really began but until September last year she thought she was going to get better.
She thought she had a problem with her hips that was operable but the operation made her condition worse.
She said: “The cruellest thing is that you don’t respond to pain medication but you’re in pain all the time and I struggle with that the most.
“I have to find ways of dealing with it so it doesn’t fundamentally change who I am.
“I get terrible short term memory loss, dizziness, my vision will go, I get very, very confused in a situation where I get sensory overload.”
Chloe also writes a blog about living with a chronic illness.
“What I am learning about living with a chronic illness is that it is a part of my life but it isn’t my whole life.”
and it is a thing you have to learn to live alongside and not let rule you.”
The gig at Bridport Arts Centre starts at 7.30pm on February 7.
Tickets are £8 in advance or £10 on the door.