You Gave Me the Answer - Have you ever experienced synaesthesia?

Photo of Paul in his home studio, photo taken by Mary McCartney



It might sound like a strange name for a flu, but it's actually a pretty remarkable sensory occurrence that as few as 1 in 2,000 people experience. Synaesthesia is when someone experiences things through their senses in an unusual way - for example, by experiencing a sound as a colour, or smell as a shape.

Believe it or not, many musicians have said to experienced synaesthesia from Stevie Wonder to Lorde, Kanye West and Billy Joel - to name a few! Synaesthesia stimuli could be anything as varied as a word, a number, or music. So, with a creative mind like Paul’s, we've wondered if he's ever experienced the sensation with his music. Have you ever experienced synaesthesia with any of your songs?

Paul: I don’t think so with music... In fact, I’ve never thought about that before. Ever since I was a kid though, I’ve seen the days of the week as different colours. I don’t know if that's the same thing, as it’s just a little mind game I play? 

I think when I was a kid, the days of the week corresponded to things that happened in my life. Monday was going back to school after the weekend, so that was black! Friday was the weekend arriving so that was red and getting jollier... Saturday was orange. Tuesday was the day my Auntie Jin and Auntie Milly used to come around and help in the house. After my mum died, there was just three boys in a house, and we were pretty hopeless at keeping it clean. So, it was very joyful to have the Aunties come over, and so in my mind that’s why Tuesday’s yellow.  I don’t think it happens with songs so much, I’m usually thinking different stuff. I've never fully experienced it myself, but I do see 'Yesterday' as sort of a yellow song. 

Paul: I wonder if that links back to an experience in your life? Like when you first heard it - maybe it makes you feel sunny or it was sunny then? It's an interesting phenomenon. I mean, we love songs and we love colours. Have you ever been inspired by a colour to write a song?

Paul: No, but we all know Chris Martin was with Coldplay's 'Yellow'. But, I don’t think I have ever had that in mind, although colours have turned up in some of my songs, like ‘Yellow Submarine’! 

So, there you have it. Paul might not see musical notes as colours exactly, but today (Friday) he’s seeing red! 

Have you ever experienced synaesthesia with Paul's music?  We'd love to hear what comes to your mind when you hear 'Maybe I'm Amazed', 'The Kiss of Venus' or 'Coming Up' - do you see colours, taste foods or smell certain scents? Reach out and let us know on Paul’s social media channels.