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Charli XCX Reveals She Has Synesthesia to 'Nylon' Magazine: She Can See Music

by Ryan Middleton   Dec 4, 2014 09:44 AM EST

Charlie XCX (Photo : Getty/Ian Gavan)

Charli XCX has become one of the hottest new acts in the pop world with her edgy sound and well-timed hooks. Her rise to prominence has been so meteoric it almost seemed like something was not right. Now in an interview with Nylon magazine, the "Boom Clap" singer has revealed she has a special gift that, according to Boston University, anywhere from 1 in 5,000 to 1 in 100,000 people have the condition synesthesia.

Synesthetes, the people who have synesthesia, have a condition in which, according to BU, "When a certain sense or part of a sense is activated, another unrelated sense or part of a sense is activated concurrently. For example, when someone hears a sound, he or she immediately sees a color or shape in his or her 'mind's eye.'"

Charli XCX spoke to Nylon about her experience with synesthesia and what it is like to make music with the condition.

People would always ask me how I came up with my music and what it felt like to make music, and I would always see colors and then I found out that that was synesthesia," Charli recently told Nylon. "It helps me understand songs and what I like."

She gives more detail on what colors she sees, saying that red and pink are what she hears when she listens to her music, while green, her least favorite color, appears, admitting with a wry smile on her face when she hears Pitbull.

Charli XCX is joined by some elite company who also have this condition. Two of the world's best, Kanye West and Pharrell, have admitted to having it as well. Kanye compared himself to Michelangelo to Seth Myers on Late Night and talked about his experience.

"I give you paintings, sonic paintings," Kanye said. "You know, I have synesthesia. I can see sound in front of me."

Pharrell spoke to NPR about how synesthesia has been integral to his own success.

"It's the only way that I can identify what something sounds like," Williams told NPR of his synesthesia. "I know when something is in key because it either matches the same color or it doesn't. Or it feels different and it doesn't feel right."

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