ARNEL PINEDA LEAD SINGER OF JOURNEY BAND
Arnel Pineda (born September 5, 1967) is a Filipino singer-songwriter who has served as the lead singer of the American rock band Journey since 2007. Pineda has had a successful musical career in the Philippines for the last 25 years.
Arnel Pineda was born in Sampaloc, Manila, in the Philippines. His mother instilled his love for singing at an early age, encouraging him to sing along to songs from his favorite singers like Karen Carpenter and Barbra Streisand. Growing up, his parents entered him in many singing contests.
In 2006, encouraged by well-respected Filipino talent manager and TV director, Bert de Leon, Pineda moved back to the Philippines with Monet Cajipe, the guitarist who had been in all of Pineda’s previous bands. They formed The Zoo with Emil Bondoc on bass, Edgar Mendoza on keyboards, and Mckoy Alcantara on drums. They signed on with de Leon’s company, Sundance Entertainment Corporation. The Zoo 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 12 original tracks and one cover song (“Pain in My Heart,” originally recorded a decade earlier by Second Wind), five of which were penned by Pineda, and another was co-written by Pineda and Mark Valliente.
Videos of The Zoo performing cover songs by Journey, Survivor, Aerosmith, Led Zeppelin, Air Supply, The Eagles, Kenny Loggins, Stryper and other popular acts from the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s, began appearing on YouTube.com in February 2007. On June 28, 2007, Neal Schon of Journey contacted Noel Gomez, a longtime fan and friend of Pineda who uploaded many of these videos, to ask for Pineda’s contact information. Schon sent an e-mail to Pineda inviting him to audition for Journey. Pineda initially dismissed the e-mail as a hoax, but after being persuaded by Gomez, he finally replied to Schon’s e-mail. Ten minutes later, Pineda received a phone call from Schon. On August 12, Pineda, along with his manager Bert de Leon, flew to Marin County, just north of San Francisco, for a two-day audition. The star-struck Pineda was welcomed warmly but he described the audition as “nerve-wracking, tense”. 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.
Pineda debuted as the lead singer of Journey on February 21, 2008 at the Viña del Mar International Song Festival held at the Quinta Vergara Amphitheater in Viña del Mar, Chile.
Chilean media acclaimed Pineda’s performance (translated to English): “The new vocalist fits very well with the band, his vocal aptitudes shining through, which are very similar to the legendary musician of the band, Steve Perry.” Journey keyboardist Jonathan Cain described Pineda’s performance in a radio interview: “We went to Chile just recently, where we had never played and they went crazy, they absolutely went nuts…Arnel’s first show — talk about a stressful thing — we had a televised concert for 25 million people…Is the guy a winner? Yeah, he’s a winner. He’s a clutch player.”
Journey returned to the US for a private RE/MAX Convention event at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on March 6, 2008, then performed at Las Vegas’ Planet Hollywood on March 8, 2008 (this concert was recorded and used, in part, for the Revelation DVD).
On February 1, 2009 he performed with Journey at the Super Bowl XLIII Pregame Show.
Journey’s first album with Pineda, Revelation, debuted at No. 5 in the Billboard Top 200 album charts in the week following its release (released June 3, 2008), and remained in the Top 20 for six weeks. It was certified gold by the RIAA with more than 336,000 units sold within the first few days. It achieved platinum status by October 1, 2008.
The US version of the album (distributed exclusively through Wal-Mart) consists of 10 new songs (“Faith in the Heartland” was co-written and originally recorded by vocalist Steve Augeri and S. Augeri is credited as song writer in the liner notes of this album) and 12 re-recorded classics, plus a live in-concert DVD filmed during the March 8, 2008 concert in Las Vegas. The European version distributed through Frontiers Records contains 11 new songs, 11 re-recorded classics, plus one new bonus track, but does not include the DVD. All of the music on Revelation was produced by Kevin Shirley (who previously worked with Journey on their Platinum-certified Trial by Fire album).
Jonathan Cain described the album in an interview: “We recorded our greatest hits with our brand new singer from the Philippines, Arnel Pineda, and it’s unbelievable when you listen to it. We paid a lot of attention to the details because everybody loves those hits and we weren’t about to step all over it. We’ve got that and a brand new CD as well, and then there’s a bonus DVD of what the band looks like now, about an hour of songs… It’s a 3-disc package… We’re excited because we think Arnel is the future for our franchise… We knew that if we were ever gonna move on, we had to get somebody that was really gonna be our future and sound like Journey is supposed to sound…I think Journey fans are in for a real treat.”
In an interview soon after Pineda joined the band, Neal Schon said, “We feel reborn. I think there’s a lot of chemistry among 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.”