Music is life encapsulated in lyrics, melody and rhythm. We turn to it for a reflection of who we are, and use it to express everything we want to be. It can just as easily stir our emotions and move us to tears, as get us hyped up, or transport us to another time. It has the ability to make us gloriously happy and instantly inspired. For many, music serves as a respite, a source of comfort, and the best way to unwind after a long day… and the best way to get motivated to start the next one.
We instinctively move to its rhythms, tap our feet to its beats, and hum its melodies. From the moment we enter the world, music is a part of who we are.
For those with autism, music often becomes a voice, an outlet, and a way to relate to the world. Many adults and children with autism instantly take to music, as it allows them to explore their creativity and better navigate the world around them.
A December 2015 study published in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders found a strong link between autism and divergent thinking—the ability to think creatively, out of the box. In other words, developing novel ideas and utilizing creative problem solving may come easy to those with autism.
But anyone who has had the pleasure of knowing a child or adult on the autism spectrum will likely tell you they didn’t need a study to tell them there is a clear link between autism and creative thinking. Some on the spectrum are particularly imaginative, innovative, and inspired, so it only makes sense that a number have gone to achieve superstardom.
You either got it or you don’t, and being on the spectrum isn’t the deciding factor. We interviewed Dovihon Edmondo Vega, a passionate singer who pursue his dreams in the music industry , in spite his autism – or maybe thanks to it.
Great to have you on Pump it up Magazine. Please, introduce yourself?
Thank you. It’s such an honor to be chosen. My name is Dovihon Edmondo Vega. (DAH-vee-AWN ed-MOON-doe). I am a 22-year-old born in Berkeley, CA (I currently live in Lithonia, GA). Singing and playing the keyboard has been a love of mine, even though I was never classically trained in piano. I aspire to be a Musician/Artist one day. Right now, I’m currently a Volunteer at Georgia Aquarium.
Who are your biggest musical influences?
My Word. I have so many, where do I even begin? I guess my main influence first and foremost would be my dad’s side of the family. As much of a crazy dude my dad was (and still is), I doubt I would’ve known at least a portion of what I know about music today. Well, mainly the Hip-hop & rap side, since I grew up on Eminem, Chris Brown, and BowWow all my life. My mother introduced me the meaningful/life lesson side of music like Alanis Morissette, Dido, Tracy Chapman, Alicia Keys, and the song A Long Walk by Jill Scott (my childhood song). As I got older, I was able to find more than a few good gems through my own discoveries such as Adele, John Legend, Enya, Rebecca Ferguson, and Dimash. Now I find myself listening to a rapper named NF, and a Soul Singer/Songwriter named EM.
And any particular artist/band you would like to collaborate with in the future?
My dream collab partner would be EM. Her music goes so deep in depth, it’s like she’s scanning through my mind, heart, and lifetime and writing it out in a song. My mother says it’s as though EM is reading through her diary pages with the way she articulates her lyrics. She also said she reminds her of Alanis Morissette.
Believe it or not, I’ve actually wrote a rap verse to one of her songs last year (the song entitled Anxiety off her album Pathway to Aetheria). To actually meet her face to face, and even sing with her one day, would make my life complete.
Have you faced any opposition, challenges and/or stigma on your journey to becoming an artist, due to autism?
Thankfully no. In fact, I feel like my Autism plays a big part in my musicality as I’m a musically inclined individual. A common characteristic of Autism is the ability to pay attention to the smallest of detail that any neurotypical might miss, and we’re usually taught as musicians that those tiny details are the most important especially when you’re producing music (a little wink of knowledge for those of you that are producers out there). I guess one of my struggles/challenges is my perfectionism. For example, I’ll retry a certain singing challenge more times than I should to the point where I wear my voice out, or myself entirely.
How do you overcome these obstacles?
I just try to remind myself that it doesn’t always HAVE to be perfect. After the 4th retry on a challenge, give it a break and come back to it later so I don’t wear myself out in the process.
What’s next for you? Any upcoming projects or tours?
Well, right now, my current plan is to start back volunteering at Georgia Aquarium again. I haven’t been back since the start of the Pandemic. So much has changed now. Music is more of a side passion for me right now. Even if I did get big in the music world, it would be a bit too much to do tours due to my daily life schedule (work, church, other responsibilities). I’ll definitely be creating plenty of content on my platforms (check out linktr.ee/vegacore101 for all my links and platforms).
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If you want to learn more about overstimulation in children, read this article about sensory overload