21 Famous Autistic Musicians 

Autism is a neurological condition. 

Although It is characterized by plenty of things, there is one that stands out the most: high sensitivity. 

Blend it with endless curiosity and intense focus on a specific area, and you get the right combination for a great musician. 

That’s the topic of today’s article—musicians who are characterized not only for their talent and dedication to creativity but also for this condition. 

Let’s dive into it! 

1. Björk 

Björk’s musical dedication dates back to when she was 14 years old, founding a punk rock band exclusively formed by women. 

The Icelandic musician has never been “officially” diagnosed with autism. Nonetheless, she firmly believes she falls within the autistic spectrum. 

2. The AutistiX 

Jake Beaven Duggan, Saul Zur-Szpiro, and Luke Steels are three of the autistic musicians that constitute this UK rock band. 

Taking influence from The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, and Nirvana, The AutistiX grabbed themselves with valor and flipped tails into heads. 

Far from hiding in shame (due to stigma and misconceptions), The AutistiX proudly wears their condition as a badge of honor, demonstrating that being autistic cannot stop you from creating great pieces of art. 

3. Eminem 

The white rapper has confessed to having Asperger’s. 

Asperger’s characteristics include difficulties in comprehending emotions, and mostly, having an unusual way of speaking (robot-like voice, repetitive speech, problems using language within a social context, etc.). 

It’s worth mentioning that Asperger’s syndrome falls within the autistic spectrum. 

Eminem has talked about his condition in songs such as “Legacy” and “Wicked Ways”  

4. Ladyhawke

Pip Brown is a New Zealand songwriter and performer, most known by her stage name Ladyhawke. 

She was officially diagnosed with autism in 2006 when she was already 26 or 27 years old! 

Ladyhawke never got discouraged by this shocking news and began a musical career in 2008 with her debut album. 

To the date of publishing this article, Pip Brown has released a total of four studio albums, and we hope she continues that way. 

5. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart 

The term “autism” appeared for the very first time in 1911, used by Eugen Bleuler to describe schizophrenia. It was Leo Kaanner, though, who in the 1940s separated autism from schizophrenia. 

One way or another, the concept was not even a thing before the 20th Century, which means that we’ll never be sure whether Mozart was actually autistic.  

However, modern experts agree that Wolfgang Amadeus fell in the autistic spectrum. 

The following characteristics support this statement: 

  • Mozart was severely affected by loud noises 
  • Mozart had a short attention span 
  • Mozart lacked social skills as a child 
  • Mozart had an eccentric behaviour 

Of course, these features aren’t enough to confirm Mozart’s autism. But naturally, it is somehow the closest we will get to a complete diagnosis. 

6. Ludwig Van Beethoven 

Similar to Mozart’s case, we cannot be 100% sure and claim Beethoven was autistic. 

Once again, there was no diagnosis of autism or Asperger’s back in the 1770s. 

Nonetheless, it’s strongly believed that Beethoven was indeed autistic. 

He had an erratic way of behaving and found it highly difficult to establish deep relationships with people. 

This overall awkwardness must have caused Beethoven severe pain. But it’s undeniable that his experiences helped him become one of the most relevant musicians in human history. 

7. Joe Walsh 

The Eagles guitarist Joe Walsh has stated he has Asperger’s. 

While growing up, Joe had to face many adversities due to his condition. 

He would feel alone, and could not form strong, healthy relationships with children of his age. 

Speaking up about this should have felt like a huge relief for The Eagles singer. We do hope this experience helps other people living similar experiences. 

8. Gary Numan 

Gary Numan is one of the pioneers of electronic music. 

He claims he falls within the specter of autism, and that he finds it impossible to engage in social situations with people he doesn’t know. 

9. James Durbin 

James Durbin was diagnosed with Autism at the age of 10. 

He found comfort and company in a guitar; an instrument that he would slowly and steadily end up mastering. 

Durbin has appeared in American Idol, recorded various solo material, and fronted 80s metal band Quiet Riot. 

10. David Byrne 

According to Talking Head’s musician, his condition is a pivotal aspect of his artistic job. 

David Byrne has openly confirmed that he has what’s known as a “mild” level of Asperger’s.  

What’s more important is his belief in this condition. 

As I mentioned before, he perceives Asperger’s as an advantage, rather than a disadvantage. Not only because it helps him create music, but because of something else. 

David believes that each person is unique and that we don’t know how to be someone else; we only know how to be ourselves. 

Quite a wise and empowering way of viewing it! 

11. Courtney Love 

In 1994, Kurt Cobain’s ex-girlfriend openly claimed she was diagnosed with autism as a child. 

This hasn’t stopped her in her career as a model and musician. 

12. Craig Nicholls 

The following story is both enraging and sad

Craig Nicholls is the frontman of the Australian rock group The Vines. 

Unfortunately, he has been the protagonist of several offenses, including domestic violence, assault, stalking, and resisting arrest. 

It’s said that it was after these incidents that Craig Nicholls was diagnosed with autism. 

This opens a question: could those incidents have been prevented if he had known about his condition previously? Did he discover about it too late? 

What’s your opinion?  

13. Example 

14. Abs Love 

15. Johnny Dean 

16. Travis Meeks 

17. Marty Balin 

18. Adam Young 

19. Michael Jackson 

20. Susan Boyle 

21. Derek Paravisini