Official photo of new Journey band with Arnel Pineda as lead vocalistFor a while now, i have been reading volumes of blogs about the feat of a Filipino musician who was tapped to become the lead vocalist for the iconic American band “Journey”.

 Since the first time i heard “Open Arms” and “Faithfully” eons ago, i have become a fan of Journey’s music. So when i first read about this bit of news on Arnel Pineda’s success, I started scouring the YouTube for the clips of his gigs in Manila where he sang songs of Journey, Bon Jovi, Survivor and Air Supply, among others… Well, except for distinctive Pinoy lisp, Arnel did mighty sound like Journey.

The news said Arnel was discovered by Journey’s Neal Schon pver YouTube. After he listened to Arnel’s rendition of faithfully, Schon was sure he is the man they were looking for. And as they say, the rest is history.

 Anyway, here are some materials about Arnel’s ‘journey’… (pun intended).

Credits goe to the authors/owners of respective blogs and resources.

From Rodel Rodis blog:

“Don’t stop believing”, the title of the hit song of 70s era rock band Journey, was played at the last scene of the final episode of the HBO hit, The Sopranos. The airplay revived interest in the band which had been performing without its frontman, Steve Perry, since the mid-90s when he quit. Journey’s journey back to the big time would be complete if they could only find a new lead singer.

It was difficult for the band to find a replacement for Steve Perry. “Those anthemic Journey power ballads, sung by Perry in his operatic tenor, have been known to shred vocal chords, and it takes an extraordinary talent to be able to sing them,” reported Paul Liberatore from Medianews.

After months of auditioning prospects without any luck, Journey’s Neal Schon tried the Internet. “I went on YouTube for a couple of days and just sat on it for hours. I was starting to think I was never going to find anybody.” That is until he chanced upon a video of Filipino singer Arnel Pineda singing Journey’s hit “Faithfully” with a Filipino cover band called the Zoo. “After watching the videos over and over again, I had to walk away from the computer and let what I’d heard sink in because it sounded too good to be true,” he said. “I thought, ‘He can’t be that good.’

Before Pineda knew it, Journey had obtained a work visa for him and had flown him in to San Francisco to audition with the band in Marin. After a few songs, the band members were unanimous that they had found their lead singer at long last. The official announcement was made on December 5 after Pineda returned to record 11 new songs of Journey that will be released in the spring of 2008.

In his blog, Journey record producer Kevin Shirley wrote “Just got back from Vegas last night, after mixing seven new Journey songs. They are outstanding… For the record, I think Arnel is ‘the business!’–the guy can really sing!

He handles the ballads with SO much heart, and belts the rockers as hard, and melodically, as anyone I have heard. The songs are sensational–wonderfully crafted and deep, and so focused, you may wonder where they all came from.”

A news article about Pineda reported that since English is his second language, he was provided with an “accent reduction coach” to work on his phrasing and diction. This was no problem for Arnel but he also had to deal with racism. “When there were rumors about me joining Journey, there was a lot of that,” Pineda told Liberatore. “One of the worst things I read on a fan message board said that Journey is an all-American band and it should stay like that. But I don’t care. I just say, ‘Hey, grow up.'”

“We’ve become a world band,” Journey keyboardist Jonathan Cain said in reply. “We’re international now. We’re not about one color. I kind of like the whole idea of having a singer like him. It’s exotic.”
Don’t stop believing in yourself. Have a happy exotic new year.

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from Wikipedia:
Arnel Pineda

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Arnel Pineda

Arnel Pineda (singer-songwriter) is the newest member and lead singer of the popular American rock band Journey [1] . Pineda has enjoyed a successful musical career in Asia for the last 25 years. His singing style has been influenced by Steve Perry (Journey), John Farnham (Little River Band), Freddie Mercury (Queen), Sting (The Police), Survivor, Heart, The Beatles, Van Halen, Aerosmith, U2, Warrant, Deep Purple, and other bands from that genre.


According to one report, as a child, Pineda wanted to become an engineer.

In 1982, when Pineda was just 15 years old, he became the lead singer of a band in the Philippines called Ijos Band. In 1987 and 1988, he won the Best Vocalist award at the World Band Explosion, with the finals held in Budokan Hall, Tokyo.

Arnel then joined a pop/rock Filipino band called Amo as their lead singer. Amo played in clubs in Quezon City, Olongapo and Makati, which are located on the biggest island of the Philippines. Amo was very popular in the renowned Chinese owned Cal Jam club in Olongapo City, which was frequented by United States Military personnel. During his tenure in Amo, Pineda made regular TV appearances in the Philippines.

In late 1990, five of Amo’s original members split from the band leader, Ulysis Ablang (Uly) and formed another band behind Pineda, “New Age”. This occurred prior to the release of Amo’s only album released in 1990 titled “Ang Tunay na Amo” (“The Real Master”) on BMG records which spawned one popular radio hit called “Running Away”. (The song was popularized again in 2006 by another Filipino artist Erik Santos, who won an American Idol type Filipino TV show, Star In A Million.) The remaining members of Amo went on to become “The Boss Band”, while Pineda’s band, New Age played regularly at Fire and Rain in Makati, a city on the outskirts of Manila.

During those performances, a talent agent spotted Pineda and asked him to move to Hong Kong to perform at a very popular entertainment restaurant called Igor’s. With New Age, Pineda performed six nights a week, Tuesday through Sunday, at Igor’s for nine years thereafter. New Age also performed at Grammy’s in Hong Kong.

In 1999, Pineda caught the attention of Warner Bros. record label and flew back to the Philippines on his days off to record a solo album, the self-titled “Arnel Pineda” which he wrote and arranged. Most of the album’s ten original songs are slow ballads, with only two upbeat numbers, one of which carries a Latin style. One of the songs, “Iiyak Ka Rin” became very popular and is now a karaoke favorite in Asia, while another song “Sayang” became a radio favorite. Pineda continued to perform with New Age while making his album and for several years thereafter.

In 2004, three members of the New Age band reformed with a female singer sharing lead vocals with Pineda and called themselves “Most W@nted”. This band played 3-4 hour sets Monday through Saturday at The Cavern Club in Hong Kong.

In 2006, Pineda moved back to the Philippines along with Monet Cajipe, the guitarist who has been in all Pineda’s bands during the last 24 years. They formed the Zoo Band. The Zoo Band has performed several nights a week at clubs in Manila and Olongapo during 2006 and 2007. Shows regularly spanned 3-5 hours. The Zoo’s first album “Zoology” was released by MCA Universal in September 2007 featuring 13 original tracks, several of which were penned by Pineda.


Videos of The Zoo performing cover songs by Journey, Survivor, Aerosmith, Led Zeppelin, Air Supply, The Eagles, Kenny Loggins and other popular acts from the 70s, 80s and 90s, began appearing on in February 2007 and now number more than 200 in total. In August 2007, Neal Schon of Journey contacted the YouTube member who uploaded many videos asking for contact information for Pineda. Pineda, along with his manager, Bert de Leon, flew to San Francisco to audition for Journey later in August, 2007.

On December 5, 2007, Pineda was announced as the lead singer of Journey. CNN Headline News ran the story as part of their “News to Me” segment.

El Mercurio Online in Chile notes that Pineda will appear with Journey at the Festival de Viña del Mar at Quinta Vergara Arena in Chile on February 21, 2008. Pineda will also perform with Journey on February 23 at Estadio San Carlos de Apoquindo in Santiago, at Grand Hotel and Casino of Viña del Mar on February 24, both in Chile, and in the US at a private Remax Convention event at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on March 6, 2008.

Journey and renowned producer Kevin Shirley are currently in the studio creating a new album which he is producing, for release in spring/summer 2008. In his online diary, Shirley described the recording sessions as “wonderful, successful, stupidly creative” and said that “Sometimes you just know when there’s history in the making.” In a statement on December 5, 2007, Shirley said “I was stunned at Arnel, who is a monster vocalist. He is the real deal. Just phenomenal.” When speaking about the upcoming album in a later entry in his diary, he said: “Just got back from Vegas last night, after mixing seven new Journey songs. They are outstanding… For the record, I think Arnel is ‘the business!’ – the guy can really sing! He handles the ballads with SO much heart, and belts the rockers as hard, and melodically, as anyone I have heard. The songs are sensational – wonderfully crafted and deep, and so focused, you may wonder where they all came from. And I’m being serious….”


From Journey Website:

Band Announcements
Dec 05, 2007


December 5, 2007 — After much speculation…the wait is finally over.        

JOURNEY–Neal Schon (guitar), Jonathan Cain (keyboards), Ross Valory (bass), Deen Castronovo (drums)–is proud to introduce fans all over the world to their new lead singer, Arnel Pineda (“pin-eh-da”).  He replaces Jeff Scott Soto, who parted ways with the band earlier this year after stepping in for Steve Augeri, who had to leave the band in 2006 for medical reasons.          

Arnel hails from Quezon City in the Philippines and has been singing Journey songs–in addition to original material–with his band, The Zoo, for the past couple of years in clubs all over his homeland.  Joining the legendary band is a dream come true for him.  “It’s so exciting to sing with one of the best bands in the world.  It’ll be a lot of hard work on my part and I’m actually looking forward to the scrutiny I’ll get from the hardcore JOURNEY fans.  I know they’ll expect me to sound exactly like ‘the voice’ (Steve Perry), but that will never happen.  I know there’s only one Steve Perry in this world.”          

When it was time for JOURNEY to look for a new lead singer, the internet came to their rescue.  Guitarist Neal Schon wanted someone new to the music business, so he turned to YouTube.  After finding Arnel singing “Faithfully,” he knew he had found the perfect frontman.         

“I was frustrated about not having a singer,” explains guitarist Neal Schon, “so I went on YouTube for a couple of days and just sat on it for hours.  I was starting to think I was never going to find anybody.  But then I found The Zoo and I watched a bunch of different video clips that they had posted.  After watching the videos over and over again, I had to walk away from the computer and let what I heard sink in because it sounded too good to be true.  I thought, ‘he can’t be that good.’  But he is that good, he’s the real deal and so tremendously talented.  Arnel doesn’t sound synthetic and he’s not emulating anyone.  I tried to get a hold of him through YouTube and I finally heard from him that night, but it took some convincing to get him to believe that it really was me and not an imposter.”        

Arnel Pineda picks up the story:  “My friend Noel picked up the message on YouTube and told me it was from Neal.  I thought it was a hoax so I ignored it.  Noel said, ‘what if it really was Neal and he wanted to offer you the chance of a lifetime?’  So I e-mailed Neal back and the rest is history.”       

 “Arnel brings a soulful and passionate voice to JOURNEY,” continues keyboardist Jonathan Cain.  “His personality is very well-suited to our music.  He’s a sincere, authentic person with a great smile and a big heart.  I think fans are really going to love him.  With Arnel’s soaring tenor, Journey returns to our heritage sound.”        

Schon agrees, “We feel reborn.  I think there’s a lot of chemistry between the five of us.  At first we were going to go into the studio and just write 4 songs, but now it’s escalated to a lot of great new and diverse material.  The stuff sounds tremendous.  Everyone’s so stoked about it.  We feel very fortunate to have found Arnel.”        

JOURNEY is currently working on a new album with legendary producer Kevin Shirley, which they hope to release by spring/summer 2008. Details will be announced early next year.