Welcome to mute sounds blog!
Rui Pedro here, from Mute Sounds.
To be honest, I have never had a blog so this is new to me. I’d like to take this opportunity to share my story with you.Let’s jump in!
It all started with my personal journey. I have battled cancer twice. The first time at the age of 19, although it was caught early, I had a micro-surgery to remove 90% of my left vocal cord. Thankfully, I did not have to undergo any treatments, only the removal surgery. By this time, I was introduced to music by learning the keyboard when I was 6. I was also playing some percussion instruments here and there, but nothing serious, only jamming. I did not notice my voice being affected post-surgery as I always had a raspy voice and the surgery only accentuated it more (sexy, lol). Having a raspy voice and being a music lover has led to make some bands, where I occasionally sang and do a lot of second voices. My main instrument at the time was the Peruvian Cajon. To those who are less familiar a Peruvian Cajon is like a wood box, which you sit on top of it and you play it with your hands. It’s an amazing instrument with a sound like no other, just beautiful. It’s similar to a snare and a kick drum but very light.
As the years passed, I continued to enjoy and playing music up until everything changed in 2015. At the time, I was in Toronto when I started to feel a sore throat, not uncommon to a regular cold in which I took Tylenol hoping to relieve. My sore throat persisted and was there 2 months later and I also developed other symptoms. I started to lose weight, having some trouble eating, choking with some types of food, and then I knew something was seriously wrong. I went into the hospital, not once, not twice, THREE TIMES and all of the doctors said: “Sore throat. Just take Tylenol or any of that type.” I knew they were wrong. I went from weighing 158lbs to 110lbs, I couldn’t eat, and even liquid yogurts would make me choke. I had an ultrasound and still nothing was resolved, and that’s when I decided to try a different approach.
I wrote a letter to retrieve my medical history. Once received, I called 911 and when the ambulance arrived I gave the letter to the paramedics in which they decided to switch their route from Toronto General Hospital to Mount Sinai. That same letter, I handed it to the doctor who called the Otolaryngology team to check me, and that’s when my nightmare started. The doctor told me if I stayed one more day like that, I would have died. I was immediately admitted for an emergency surgery with local anesthesia to cut a hole in my throat so I could breathe. It was as traumatic as it sounds.
After the surgery, the doctor came with the biopsy results stating I had Stage 4 throat cancer. I was in shock, yes, you’ve read correctly, STAGE 4. This is the worst possible scenario. He explained to me that they would have to go in and do a tracheostomy in order for a chance at surviving and being cured, and that would result in a fully permanent loss of voice. I flew back to Portugal two weeks later in order to receive all the medical care needed, which led me to an 8 months stay at the hospital. This is the time when I truly was humbled and realized my passion for music can be reborn and that’s when Mute Sounds all begin!
I started to learn the guitar by myself through YouTube videos lesson. However, instead of focusing on learning songs from others, I started to write my own songs where I could express my feelings through the chords. All this while I was hospitalized. People were coming to my room to listen and express how inspiring I was which was great motivation to keep going. All of sudden I was invited by the hospital management, IPO (Portuguese Institute of Oncology) to present my songs to other patients in the hospital to show that cancer doesn’t have to be the end, it can actually be the beginning of something amazing, and it was.
My little showcases were being shared through the Portuguese National Healthcare Website and Social Media.
I gave my first interview for the hospital website and a few months later I was invited to present my songs in a small bar called Toca da Onça in my hometown, Caldas da Rainha.
Guys, I only had 5 songs at the time and the owner asked me for a 2 hours show, 3 weeks away from the date of the event!! Can you imagine my face?! I was panicking! In 3 weeks, I had to create a setlist for a 2 hours set, a name for the project pictures and give names to all the songs!!!! But I did it!! And fortunately for me, I had a full house! I even had a friend from my childhood flying from the UK to see my show. It was crazy and most definitely one of the best experiences of my entire life. Just imagine having a full room, approximately 100, respecting every single song I was playing on the guitar and only making noise after each song by clapping, which was unique. Those people weren’t there to see live music, those people were there to listen to a story, a story put into chords.
That night, I felt Mute Sounds could be something different, not only a band, but a band who will inspire people, a band with a purpose.