V Wanna Know: Angel Olsen Learns About Synesthesia

V Wanna Know: Angel Olsen Learns About Synesthesia

V Wanna Know: Angel Olsen Learns About Synesthesia

Singer-song writer Angel Olsen learns about the neurological condition of synesthesia with Mathias Rosenzweig and artist Carol Steen

Singer-song writer Angel Olsen learns about the neurological condition of synesthesia with Mathias Rosenzweig and artist Carol Steen

Text: Colleen Rodgers


In the latest episode of V Wanna Know podcast, singer-songwriter Angel Olsen sits down with host Mathias Rosenzweig to learn about the complex phenomenon of synesthesia with the help of the artist and founder of the American Synesthesia Association, Carol Steen. 

In her latest album, Big Time, Olsen explores a life of new love after coming out as queer, while actively dealing with the devastating grief from the passing of her parents. This album laid it all out on the table, as the songwriter focused on writing for herself, without any pretense.

“I think what it was was that I was just really sad, and I was like I’m just gonna say that its really sad, and its a simple, profound thing, and it doesn't have to be anything other than what it is”, Olsen said referring to the breakup that was a catalyst for her writing the album. “I’m a somewhat famous musician and someone f-cking ghosted me and I want to write a song about it, you know? It doesn't matter how far you've come, or how far you think you've come, people will disappoint you.”

Synesthesia is a condition in which stimulation of one sensory or cognitive pathway leads to involuntary experiences in a second sensory or cognitive pathway. Some people see an array of colors and shapes when listening to music or equate letters with specific colors. It's a topic we are still actively learning about and researching, with help from people like Steen, who realized she was a synesthete at age 7. 

“When I was 7, I made a mistake and I told my best friend the color of the letter A, and she stopped talking to me, so I decided that silence was safer,” Steen said, pointing out that a lot of people may have synesthesia, but are either afraid of being seen as crazy or simply assume that everyone thinks this way. 

Tune in to this episode of V Wanna Know to learn more about Olsen’s relationship with music and to hear more from Steen about the highs and lows of living with synesthesia. 

Credits: PHOTOGRAPHY: HANNAH SOMMER, CASTING: GREG KRELENSTEIN

UP NEXT

Say No To Melty Makeup: 10 Tinted Moisturizers For When It’s Just Too Hot
This lightweight makeup savior will leave you with the perfect natural, dewy coverage, guaranteed to leave you flawless and synonymous with the climate.