There’s always been debate about what makes an artist who and/or what they are. Even though we’ll likely never get a legitimate answer to that question, it’s fun to read about shared traits that seem to exist within some of the more popular musicians we listen to, specifically when it comes to synesthesia.
For those of you who don’t know, synesthesia is when one type of stimulation evokes the sensation of another. Most commonly we know this amongst musicians who say that their synesthesia allows them to hear colors. Pharrell, Patrick Stump, Billy Joel and Tori Amos are just a handful of musicians who have stated that they have some form of synesthesia, and it makes people wonder how this changes their creative process in actually writing a song.
Synesthesia isn’t only about colors being associated with music, it’s also prevalent in colors being associated with numbers and letters, as well as other forms. Studies are beginning to show that it’s a possibility that all babies are actually born with a form of synesthesia, but that most of us lose it over time. In theory, this could be a legitimate argument as to why some people seem to have a more innate skill when it comes to certain art forms, specifically music.
Brendon Urie, the lead singer of Panic! at the Disco talked about his own form of synesthesia in an interview with Rolling Stone where he said the following:
“Death of a Bachelor was a lot of bright yellows, bright reds. But it was all very Sixties, like if you’ve ever seen the Doors performance where there are actual doors hanging above smoke screens and the smoke is coming up. It’s very Easter-ish, soft pastel colors. It’s soft but bright. It’s like glow-y and there are yellows and reds and dark teals that are still popping. That was very much “Death of a Bachelor,” the song. It felt so right. It felt nice to have that completion to the idea.”
What’s especially ironic to us about this particular statement is that the actual music video for Death of a Bachelor is entirely black and white.
No matter if synesthesia plays a big enough role in these musicians’ lives to affect their writing process or not (although how could it not), we can’t help but wonder whether or not their musical sound would change if they were to not have the condition.