List of people with synesthesia

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This is a list of notable people who have claimed to have the neurological condition synesthesia. Following that, there is a list of people who are often wrongly believed to have had synesthesia because they used it as a device in their art, poetry or music (referred to as pseudo-synesthetes).

Estimates of prevalence of synesthesia have ranged widely, from 1 in 4 to 1 in 25,000 – 100,000. However, most studies have relied on synesthetes reporting themselves, introducing self-referral bias.[1]

Media outlets including Pitchfork have critically noted the considerable numbers of musical artists from the 2010s onwards claiming to be synesthetes, observing that "without literally testing every person who comes out in the press as a synesthete, it’s exceedingly difficult to tell who has it and who is lying through their teeth for cultural cachet" and that claims of experiencing synesthesia can be employed "as an express route to creative genius".[2]

Synesthetes[edit]

Name Type Lifespan Country Profession Notes Source
Alessia Cara Multiple b. 1996  Canada Singer-songwriter [3][4]
Beyoncé Sound to color b. 1981  United States Singer-songwriter, record producer, dancer, actress [5][6][7]
Charli XCX Sound to color b. 1992  United Kingdom Singer-songwriter[8] [9]
Jennifer Cook O'Toole Multiple b. 1975  United States Author [10]
Marilyn Monroe Taste to colour 1926-1962  United States Actress [11][12]
Jack Coulter Sound to color b. 1994  United Kingdom Artist [13][14]
Marina Diamandis Multiple b. 1985  United Kingdom Singer-songwriter [15][16]
Patricia Lynne Duffy Unspecified b. 1952  United States Author Wrote Blue Cats and Chartreuse Kittens, the first book by a synesthete about synesthesia.

Co-founded the American Synesthesia Association.

[17]
Mary J. Blige Sound to colour b. 1971  United States Singer-songwriter, actress [18]
Billie Eilish Multiple b. 2001  United States Singer-songwriter [19]
Kanye West Multiple b. 1977  United States Rapper, singer-songwriter, record producer, fashion designer [20][21]
Nikola Tesla Sound to color 1856–1943  Serbia/ United States Inventor [22]
Eves Karydas Sound to color b. 1994  Australia Singer-songwriter [23][24]
Wassily Kadinsky Multiple 1866-1944  Russia Artist [25][26]
Duke Ellington Sound to color 1899–1974  United States Composer, pianist, bandleader [27]
David Hockney Sound to color b. 1937  United Kingdom Artist, stage designer, photographer [28]
Greg Jarvis Sound to shape 1944–1986  Canada Musician Founded the Canadian Synesthesia Association. [29][30][31]
Ramin Djawadi Sound to color b. 1974  Germany Score composer [32]
Billy Joel Multiple b. 1949  United States Singer-songwriter, composer, pianist [33][34]
Bloem de Ligny Multiple b. 1978  Netherlands Singer [35][36]
Franz Liszt Sound to color 1811–1886  Hungary Composer, pianist [37][38][33]
Lorde Sound to color b. 1996  New Zealand Singer-songwriter[39] [40]
Tori Amos Sound to color b. 1963  United States Singer-songwriter [41]
Ida Maria Sound to color b. 1984  Norway Singer-songwriter [42][43]
Marian McPartland Sound to color 1918–2013  United Kingdom/ United States Jazz pianist [44]
Bea Miller Sound to color b. 1999  United States Singer-songwriter, actress [45]
Stephanie Morgenstern Multiple b. 1965  Canada Actress, filmmaker [46]
Finneas O'Connell Multiple b. 1997  United States Musician, record producer, actor [20]
Frank Ocean Sound to color b. 1987  United States Singer-songwriter, producer, artist Released Channel Orange in 2012, an album themed around his own synesthesia [47]
Adil Omar Multiple b. 1991  Pakistan Singer-songwriter, record producer [48]
Andy Partridge Multiple b. 1953  United Kingdom Singer-songwriter, musician [49][50]
Itzhak Perlman Sound to shape b. 1945  Israel/ United States Violinist, conductor, music teacher [34]
Osmo Tapio Räihälä Sound to shape b. 1964  Finland Composer [51]
Maggie Rogers Sound to color b. 1994  United States Singer-songwriter, record producer [52]
Jean Sibelius Unspecified 1865–1957  Finland Composer, violinist [33]
Holly Smale Emotions to color b. 1981  United Kingdom Writer [53]
Carol Steen Multiple b. 1943  United States Artist Co-founded the American Synesthesia Association. [54][55]
Daniel Tammet Unspecified b. 1979  United Kingdom Author [56]
Brendon Urie Multiple b. 1987  United States Singer [57][58]
Sabrina Vlaškalić Multiple 1989–2019  Serbia Classical guitarist [59]
Solomon Shereshevsky Fivefold 1886-1958  Russia Journalist, mnemonist [60][61]
Richard Wagner Sound to color 1813–1883  Germany Composer, theatre director, conductor [34]
Pharrell Williams Sound to color b. 1973  United States Singer, rapper, songwriter, record producer, fashion designer [34][33]
Richard David James Unspecified b. 1971  Ireland Musician, record player, composer, remixer, DJ [62]

Pseudo-synesthetes[edit]

  • Arthur Rimbaud may or may not have been a synesthete. He wrote a poem about vowels all having colours,[66] but he might not have actually perceived graphemes in colour.

References[edit]

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  2. ^ https://pitchfork.com/thepitch/229-what-the-hell-is-synesthesia-and-why-does-every-musician-seem-to-have-it
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  4. ^ "Alessia Cara talks about her synaesthesia". PopBuzz. Retrieved December 3, 2020.
  5. ^ Webb, Katherine (June 23, 2018). "The Craziest things you didn't know about Beyoncé".
  6. ^ Kosowan, Gene (January 14, 2020). "These 10 Musicians & Artists Who Claim To Have Synesthesia".
  7. ^ "I see music, says Beyoncé as she releases new album and 17 videos". December 13, 2013.
  8. ^ Savage, Mark (December 12, 2013). "Charli XCX: Pop, punk and synaesthesia".
  9. ^ Savage, Mark (12 December 2013). "BBC News - Charli XCX: Pop, punk and synaesthesia". BBC News.
  10. ^ Cook O'Toole, Jennifer (4 December 2018). Autism in Heels: The Untold Story of a Female Life on the Spectrum. ISBN 9781510732858.
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  13. ^ "Synesthesia artist Jack Coulter creates 'musical painting' of Glastonbury". Independent.co.uk. 20 June 2016.
  14. ^ McNamara, Brittney. "This Is What It's Like to Be Able to HEAR Color". Teen Vogue. Retrieved 2020-12-03.
  15. ^ "Trust Your Gut: An Interview With Marina and the Diamonds". Rookie. 25 February 2015.
  16. ^ Lancaster, Brodie (2015-02-24). "Rookie » Trust Your Gut: An Interview With Marina and the Diamonds". www.rookiemag.com. Retrieved 2020-12-03.
  17. ^ Duffy, Patricia Lynne (2011-04-01). Blue Cats and Chartreuse Kittens: How Synesthetes Color Their Worlds. Henry Holt and Company. ISBN 9781429928274.
  18. ^ {{Cite Web|url=https://www.nme.com/blogs/nme-blogs/meet-the-famous-musicians-with-synaesthesia-a-condition-that-means-you-hear-colours-14511}}
  19. ^ Strick, Katie (2020-01-28). "Synaesthesia: a superpower I share with Billie Eilish". www.standard.co.uk. Retrieved 2020-12-03.
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  26. ^ "the man who heard his paintbox hiss".
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  28. ^ see Cytowic, Richard E. 2002. Synaesthesia: a Union of the Senses. Second edition. Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Press.
  29. ^ Everett-Green, Robert (Dec 3, 2010). "For Musician With Synaethesia, The Cello Can Sound Too Fury. Or Too Red". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved December 3, 2015.
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  32. ^ Renfro, Kim (July 7, 2016). "Meet the musical genius behind the 'Game of Thrones' soundtrack who watches each season before anyone else". Business Insider. Archived from the original on January 31, 2017. Retrieved December 22, 2016.
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  38. ^ Liu, Annie (Yen-Ling) (2013). "Listening as Gazing: Synaesthesia and the Double Apotheosis in Franz Liszt's "Hunnenschlacht"". Studia Musicologica. 54 (4): 379–388. doi:10.1556/SMus.54.2013.4.4. ISSN 1788-6244. JSTOR 43289733.
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  42. ^ "Ida Maria". The List. 2008-05-22. Retrieved 2020-03-17.
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  44. ^ Hasson, Claire. A Discussion Of Marian McPartland's Style Archived 2009-07-23 at the Wayback Machine in Marian McPartland: Jazz Pianist: An Overview of a Career
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  46. ^ see Raskin, Richard. 2003. An interview with Stephanie Morgenstern and Mark Ellis on Remembrance. P.O.V., A Danish Journal of Film Studies; number 15 (March): 170-184.
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  48. ^ https://tribune.com.pk/story/1763348/4-need-talk-adil-omar/
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  53. ^ Smale, Holly [@HolSmale] (June 6, 2021). "Finally, the way we process emotions can vary. I have synaesthesia, so I often read emotions as colours. Trying to work out what "dark purple" means can take time. In short, "autistics can't read emotions" is overly simplistic and unhelpful. We can. Just not like you" (Tweet). Retrieved June 6, 2021 – via Twitter.
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  62. ^ "Synesthesia Digital Library | Famous Synesthetes : Richard D. James/Aphex Twin". sdl.granthazard.com. Retrieved 2020-11-16.
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  65. ^ Scriabin, Alexander. 1995(1911). "Poem of Ecstasy" and "Prometheus: Poem of Fire". New York: Dover.
  66. ^ {{Cite web|Url=https://www.guggenheim.org/audio/track/about-vowels-by-arthur-rimbaud