The colossal name of Pharrell Williams is deservingly synonymous with innovation and individuality on many creative fronts. The Virginia Beach, VA native burst onto the music scene in 1994, producing beats with friend and frequent collaborator Chad Hugo as 𝘛𝘩𝘦 𝘕𝘦𝘱𝘵𝘶𝘯𝘦𝘴. Since then Pharrell has solidified his legacy as one of the most influential beat and taste makers of his generation, collaborating with mega-stars like Justin Timberlake and JAY-Z while pushing the boundaries of popular fashion.
The multi-Grammy award winner is iconic for ushering in new sounds into hip-hop and R&B in the early 2000s, a time when the genre was dominated by a “thug-rap” wave. What many may not know though is the way Pharrell interacts with and creates music, and why it’s so beneficial for his craft. Pharrell Williams actually has a medical condition called Synesthesia, a rather rare medical condition that enables him to engage with music and sounds on a visual level. In layman’s terms yes; Pharrell can see sounds. He first made the announcement publicly back in 2012 in an interview with 𝘗𝘴𝘺𝘤𝘩𝘰𝘭𝘰𝘨𝘺 𝘛𝘰𝘥𝘢𝘺, where he would expand on the condition saying “Colors are light in the electromagnetic spectrum. For every color, there is a sound, a vibration, a part of the human body, a music note…”.
So what causes Synesthesia, could you also train yourself to see music?….Regrettably, it doesn’t appear so. From what current research supports, Synesthesia is a phenomenon that establishes before the age of 1, when many neural connections in a young brain severe in the pruning process, though some remain connected. This leads to an enhanced ability to interact with your visual and auditorial senses, as they’re respective nerve endings are still intact. It is estimated that roughly only 4% of the worlds population possesses this ability, and Pharrell suggests that many artists probably have the ability without fully comprehending it.