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For this musician with autism, music is their first language

Parker Miles Blohm
Musician Xolie Morra Cogley with Sound Effect Producer Kevin Kniestedt

This story originally aired on March 30, 2019.

Xolie Morra Cogley is a musician in Seattle, and leader of the band Xolie Morra and the Strange Kind.

“I’ve always been into music since I was very little," Cogley says. "And so music, I think, really helped to move me in a more social direction, because I didn’t really do a lot of talking when I was little. But I developed a communication skill using music that helped me fit into certain groups. So I didn’t have to have conversations. I was just playing music.”

Using music as a sort of language is helpful to Xolie, because they have autism. Xolie didn’t always know that -- in fact, they weren’t diagnosed until age 30.

In this conversation, Xolie sat down with Sound Effect producer Kevin Kniestedt to talk about growing up undiagnosed, how musicians have helped Xolie communicate and dealing with what they call “off-stage fright.”

Xolie Morra and the Strange Kind will be performing at a benefit concert called “In the Spectrum - The Concert for Autism Speaks” April 26th at the Skylark in West Seattle.

Kevin Kniestedt is a journalist, host and producer who began his career at KNKX in 2003. Over his 17 years with the station, he worked as a full time jazz host, a news host and produced the weekly show Sound Effect. Kevin has conducted or produced hundreds of interviews, has won local and national awards for newscasts and commentary.