The Synesthetic Process Behind Each Song
02/15/23 08:00 AM Filed in: songwriting
As some of you may or may not know, I experience a neurological condition known as ‘Synesthesia’. In short, it is a condition in which your brain associates colors to sounds, days of the week to colors, numbers to textures, and much more. With Synesthesia, something is always linked to something else. In this post, I would like to share how Synesthesia assists me in creating music!
The process for writing a song is different each time - different songs call for different things. Some need to be journaled, some need to be written in pen, and others need to be typed; however, Synesthesia is a part of the process that is the same across the board. Inspiration can come from anywhere - a friend’s voice, a picture, a feeling, the ocean, a word… and after I have that inspiration and build a concept onto it, words, colors, shapes and textures flood my mind. Here is an example of one way I write music that really highlights Synesthesia;
Once I have maybe a line or two written for the concept, let’s say for this example it’s ‘heavily gold drapes over your eyes’ I’ll start lists of words that pull me into that world, and have similar tastes, colors, textures and sounds;
‘Heavily gold drapes over your eyes’
Once I have a building list, I’ll use the words I wrote for inspiration, and to connect and continue a story.
Another example of where Synesthesia comes into play is recording and listening in the studio. There have been many times I've tried to explain how certain instruments or vocals should sound with words like ‘the light on a lighthouse’, ‘darker’, or ‘more blue’. Thankfully, my producer, Kevin McNoldy sees the beauty in those types of connections, and works with me to get it exactly where it needs to be. While the Synesthetic process opens many doors, it can also lead to feeling overwhelmed by how big the playground really is. It can be frustrating trying to write a song that fits all of those categories of connection, and having it feel just right. I’m a perfectionist by nature, however, with the added trait of Synesthesia, if something isn’t 100% right, it feels so painfully obvious. This can make the writing process last longer, and make recording difficult at times.
Although it has its pros and cons, I would never change my Synesthetic understanding of life. I’m so happy to have been able to share this part of me with you all, and maybe help you understand more and more about this condition! Thank you for your continuing love and support.
(If you’re interested in an in-depth explanation/exploration of Synesthesia, here is a link to an MLA essay I wrote titled “Understanding Synesthesia”!)