For many of us a song can evoke many feelings, like how that one sad track you listened to on repeat after a particularly bad break up brings back memories of that event, but for Melissa McCracken songs evoke a palette of colors in her mind.
Melissa has a rare neurological condition called synesthesia, actually a particular form called chromesthesia, which means that her brain processes songs as colors. While Melissa has lived with this condition her entire life, she has started to channel this unique perspective of music by painting her favorite songs. You may be wondering how you can see music as colors and the short simple explanation of synesthesia is that the brain gets a bit cross-wired, for instance the auditory parts of the brain get linked to the visual centers. The result is that people can see sound as color and each note typically has a corresponding color. Many people with chromesthesia are often considered to have perfect pitch because of this.
Check out Melissa paintings and listen to the songs that inspired them. Also, read the full interview with Melissa McCracken at Broadly to get a better understanding of how she perceives sound as color and follow her on Instagram @melissamccrack
Though synesthesia is a rare condition, affecting only 4% of the population, it is prevalent among artists and creatives. For instance, Pharrell, Lady Gaga, Vincent van Gogh, Kanye West, Stevie Wonder, and Hans Zimmer all have a form of synesthesia with chromesthesia being the most common form. If you find the condition interesting check out the documentary titled The Boy With The Incredible Brain to learn more.