Adrenal Achievements Series- Voice of Silence Musician, Vinoj
Adrenal Alternatives Foundation is proud to feature this month’s adrenal achievement article with musician, Vinoj of Voice of Silence music.
Vinoj was diagnosed with Addison’s disease and has recorded a song about his battle with adrenal insufficiency called “Temple to Castle.” We were proud to interview Vinoj about his journey managing adrenal disease and how it has inspired his music.
We are also proud to announce that Vinoj will be headlining our benefit concert hosted at the Alliance for the Arts in Fort Myers, Florida in December of 2021. (Details TBA)
Vinoj of Voice of Silence – Artist Biography
Scarborough-based spoken word and hip-hop artist Voice of Silence is well-known for twisting the way everyday life is perceived with simple yet profound imagery. His style is constantly evolving, just like himself, and his newfound approach to fuse musical elements from hip-hop and his South Asian background with his poetic raps creates an experience that cannot be found elsewhere.
While also working as an artist educator in schools and community programs, Voice of Silence has performed at countless events, including opening for ¡MAYDAY!’s ‘Fire in the Sky’ tour, UNITY Charity’s yearly showcases, and the third annual R.I.S.E. Edutainment ‘416RISE’ showcase. He is seven-times published in various Canadian poetry collections, including Island Magic and The Tracery of Trees, and he has released his debut poetry/hip-hop album, Befriending Silence, in April 2017. For his integration and support of the Toronto arts community through his first album, Voice of Silence received the first ever R.I.S.E. Edutainment Community Development Award in 2016. He was also part of the Scarborough Arts EAST Mixtape Challenge program in 2018, which allowed him to further develop his hip-hop craft through a collaborative mixtape titled Time Waits for No One. His passion to tap into his full potential and to connect souls one song at a time keeps the ink flowing and his pen moving. With his new album coming soon, he released a new EP, Roots, which is a three-song journey of rekindling and redefining his relationship with his creativity. Roots is available now on all music platforms!
Q- Please introduce yourself?
My name is Vinoj, and I was born and raised in Toronto, Canada. By day, I am an engineer, working in rail and transit, and by night, I am an artist educator, a spoken word poet, and a hip-hop recording artist and performer.
Q- What form of adrenal disease were you diagnosed with?
I was diagnosed with primary adrenal insufficiency, more commonly known as Addison’s Disease, in September 2019.
Q- Can you tell us about your song you wrote about your Addison’s diagnosis?
The song “Temple to Castle” was born in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, about a year after I started to experience the more severe symptoms of Addison’s pre-diagnosis. I was in a very self-reflective space and was looking back on my journey with Addison’s and how it has impacted my life and shaped me over the past year. As most can relate, I was feeling more alone than before having to be cooped up inside during the lockdown. Poetry and music is my way of expression through which I’m able to connect with others, so I channeled the frustration I felt having these extra obstacles, having to rely on daily medication, and having to work harder to rebuild my physical health into writing this song.
Inspired by Pharoahe Monch’s verse on “The Fight Song”, I wanted to write the intro from the perspective of Addison’s, as if it was a living entity haunting me and wanting to be recognized just like other more common diseases. The following verses were inspired by “TFB” by King Iso, where he treated going to the gym as “training for battle”, and I wrote my verses as building my physical health and motivating myself to continue to fight the symptoms of Addison’s and continue pushing forward. The chorus became an anthem-style battle cry, where I “declare war” on Addison’s and flip the meaning of the phrase “your body is a temple”. I had to make my body a “castle” instead so I can have the physical and mental strength to accept and live with this disease.
I created this song in hopes of connecting with others with similar diagnoses, to show that we are not as alone and rare as health professionals say we are, and to inspire others to not let adrenal diseases hold them back from living their life to the fullest.
Q- Did you struggle to accept your diagnosis of adrenal disease?
Very much indeed. Being 25 at the time, I felt “invincible” and that I will never have to rely on any medications or have any health complications (at least not for a long time), so when I heard about my diagnosis, I wasn’t able to fully take in the gravity of it. It wasn’t until 2 months later, when I had to go back to the hospital because a fever left me completely weak and unable to function that I realized how serious of a condition I have. It probably took me a whole year to finally feel comfortable and accept that I need to live with Addison’s and not against it.
Q- How has adrenal disease changed your life?
Having an adrenal disease has forced me to slow down and listen to my body more. Before all the symptoms and diagnosis, I was always “on the go” and filled up my days from morning until night with things to do. Looking back on this though, I felt that I had spread myself too thin and did not take the time to appreciate the simpler aspects of life. I’m now practicing a lot more self-care through meditation and yoga and learning what my body needs and how the medications affect it as well. Instead of trying to do as much as I can, I am focusing on what matters to me most and what my passions are. Although all of this seemed like a downfall at first and I did feel that I was not being as “productive” as I used to be, I am beginning to appreciate the slower pace and having a more grateful outlook on life.
Q- What goals do you hope to accomplish with your music?
My goal is to connect with others through relatable stories and themes that are captured through my music. I want to capture everyday life in poetic and refreshing ways that allow people to be more aware of themselves and appreciate the immediate world around them.
Q- What is something you wish the world understood about life with adrenal disease?
I wish the world understood that having adrenal disease does not mean we cannot live life to the fullest. I was often told through health professionals and online articles that Addison’s is rare and that it’s even more rare to meet others with it as well, and it’s not easy to regain your physical health, but through the release of “Temple to Castle”, I quickly learned there is a vast international community out there ready to support and inspire each other with their own life stories.
Q- How do you use your music to help you cope with adrenal disease?
Music is very therapeutic to me, as I can spend a whole day just listening to music and being carried away into the world the artists create through their lyrics and instrumentals. It inspires me to tell my own stories in creative ways through music so that I can get lost within the worlds that I create. It is both an outlet that allows me to escape the reality of having Addison’s and at the same time, a tool to allow me to express my journey with it as well. I consider my poems and music to be time capsules that capture what I’m feeling and experiencing in that specific moment, and when I look back at them in the future, it allows me to appreciate how far I’ve come and be inspired by my own experiences.
Q- What is something you wish you could tell all adrenal disease patients?
This disease is not a wall. Although there are some rough days and it feels like a burden, it is just another weight you carry with you on your shoulder throughout life. It is most definitely possible to live the life you want to while adapting to the routines you now have, so keep pushing onward!
Q- What quote best motivates you?
This quote by Randell Adjei never fails to motivate me: “I am not my struggles, I am not my pain. They are just roadblocks that prove how far I came”
Vinoj is an example of how you can still accomplish your dreams despite your disease! For more information, you can follow Vinoj at his social media links below-
This content has been brought to you by Adrenal Alternatives Foundation, a 5o1c3 non profit organization. We appreciate all contributions which allow us to further our mission, Education, Advocacy and Awareness for all adrenal disease. EIN: 83-3629121.