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What is Synesthesia? Olivia Rodrigo reveals rare condition 

Olivia Rodrigo reveals she experiences synesthesia (Image via Taylor Hill/Getty Images)
Olivia Rodrigo reveals she experiences synesthesia (Image via Taylor Hill/Getty Images)
Karishma Rao

While getting ready for this year’s Met Gala, Olivia Rodrigo revealed that she has minor synesthesia. The three-time Grammy-winner revealed that when she listens to songs, she also sees color. While getting her makeup and hair done with Vogue, Rodrigo shared that her team listens to music as she gets ready for an event. Olivia Rodrigo added that when she listens to her music, she sees many of the same colors.

Synesthesia is a condition in which, when one's senses are activated, another unrelated sense gets activated as well.

This is why a lot of the songs on her debut SOUR album are tinted purple. The color went on to become the overall aesthetic. Rodrigo shared:

“Lots of the songs on SOUR are purple. "Driver’s License" is purple, but "Good 4 U" is like a purpley-blue. "Jealousy, Jealousy's" a bright red, "Deja Vu" is like orange and pink and light purple. I like having purple as the cohesive colour throughout my whole SOUR era.”

Keeping the color in mind, her Met Gala stylists Chloe and Chenelle Delgadillo let the singer have a "purple moment." This year, she graced the Met steps with a purple Versace dress with matching butterflies in her hair.

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Olivia Rodrigo's synesthesia explained

Synesthesia is a neurological condition in which information meant to stimulate one of your senses ends up stimulating several other senses as well. Those with the condition are called synesthetes.

The word synesthesia comes from the Greek words "synth" and "ethesia" which means "together" and "perception" respectively.

Synesthetes can often see music in colors along with hearing it, and they can taste textures as round or pointy when eating food.

The additional senses occur right away. One cannot control it. For example, if one listens to a new song, they can see a new color or taste a flavor involuntarily. The additional sense also stays for a long time. For example, if one sees the color green in the letter "A," 10 years from now, they will be able to see the same color.

Those with synesthesia tend to have common symptoms including:

1. Sensory triggers that consistently interrupt between senses (for example, every time you see the letter A, you will invariably see it in red).

2. Other perceptions cross over senses. This may include tasting shapes, heating colors, etc.

3. Healthline also claims that those with synesthesia are likely to be left-handed and have a strong interest towards music and visual arts. It is believed to be more common in women than men.

Those who experience Synesthesia are often born with it. It is believed to be genetically inherited.

There is no treatment for the condition as well.

A few other famous celebrities other than Olivia Rodrigo, who are believed to have synesthesia include Kanye West, Pharrell Williams, Mary J. Blige and Lorde among others.


Edited by Sayati Das

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