Thursday April 18, 2013
Fairy-tale Journey for Filipino singer Arnel Pineda
By MELISSA KOK
IT has been five years since Filipino singer Arnel Pineda was discovered on YouTube and became the lead vocalist for legendary rock band Journey.
But the 45-year-old singer still pinches himself to make sure that he is not dreaming.
Pineda says: “It’s like a fairy tale, it’s something that only happens like one in a million, and it happened to me. I’m just so grateful because ever since I was a kid, I’ve dreamt that someday I’d make it big in the music industry.”
Pineda was discovered by Journey’s lead guitarist Neal Schon after he posted videos of his covers of Journey songs on YouTube in 2007. He was later asked to replace the band’s singer Steve Augeri and has since been touring relentlessly with the band.
Although Pineda says he is not involved in the band’s songwriting process and does not have a say in their touring and recording schedule, he is grateful for the opportunity that the band has given him.
Speaking in a hushed whisper because he does not want to strain his voice, he says: “The touring is really hard but ... I have no reason to complain.”
A documentary on his life, Don’t Stop Believin’: Everyman’s Journey, directed by Ramona Diaz, was released in the United States in early March and has received rave reviews from music publications and the New York Times.
The father of four children and two stepchildren says: “I think my story is so inspiring for other kids out there who’re dreaming to be somebody someday ... it’s something I’d like to share with everyone. The only thing I’m not comfortable with is seeing myself on the big screen – I don’t think I look pleasant.”
Known for their anthemic rock tunes, Journey soared to success in the 1970s and 1980s with lead singer Steve Perry, whose distinctive vocals made songs such as Don’t Stop Believin’ and Open Arms chart-topping hits. He left the band in 1998 due to a hip injury and has pursued a solo career.
The band, which have put out several multi-platinum albums, have sold more than 47 million albums worldwide.
Journey dropped out of the music scene for a while but were thrust into the limelight again when Don’t Stop Believin’ was used in the 2007 finale of The Sopranos, and in the pilot episode of Glee in 2009.
Asked about hardcore fans who still prefer Journey’s original singer Perry, Pineda says: “I will never be able to satisfy those hardcore fans, because my voice is different. It will always be tough, but so far so good, five years have passed despite a lot of opposition from Perry’s fans ... we’re at least making a lot of people happy.” – The Straits Times, Singapore/Asia News Network