I enjoy reading stories of unknown singers making it big in the Music industry. It’s one reason I have an American Idol blog and Pinoy Idol blog where I can see their rise to possible stardom. I am sure a lot of you know Arnel Pineda, the front man for the 80’s Journey band. I first learned about Arnel Pineda’s journey last December but I had no idea about this Journey Band. What is simply amazing is the journey that Arnel had to travel to reach this dream. I knew all about the following:
1. Discovery in Youtube – On June 28, 2007, Neal Schon, guitarist and founding member of Journey contacted Noel Gomez (ndgomez), the YouTube member who uploaded many videos, asking for contact information for Arnel. At first, Arnel thought it was a hoax, but Noel encouraged him to respond, just in case it was the chance of a lifetime. Arnel finally responded providing his cell phone number. Schon called him ten minutes later and fondly recalls spending the first thirty minutes of the conversation trying to convince Arnel he was really Neal Schon. It was decided that Arnel and his manager would fly to San Francisco to audition with Journey.
2. US Visa Application – When Arnel arrived to apply for his US visa citing his reasons as auditioning for Journey, the immigration agents did not take him seriously and were about to send him home empty-handed. Luckily, one agent had seen Arnel perform at the Bagaberde club the previous night and recognized him. The agent recalls being impressed with Arnel’s vocal skills and thinking he sounds like Steve Perry. He asked Arnel to sing “Wheel In The Sky” a capella in the office. Everyone iapplauded and Arnel’s visa was granted. How Arnel Pineda got his US Visa (Perhaps the Greatest Manila Visa Tale of All time)
What I didnt know is that behind Arnel’s passion and emotion that Journey’s song needed lies an inspiring story.
Apparently his mother taught him to sing since he was 5 years old but she died when Arnel was 13 years old. Though she is not around, his mom left him a singing legacy. Her voice carried him through all the pain he has gone through. Arnel believes his mom was his biggest influence. His mom taught him to fight the world when the world is just not too kind to you.
Those of you who have lost a loved one know that they never really left you. They are with you every step of the way. They live in your memories, and in your heart. Pain can be our greatest teacher. Regardless of where the pain comes from, there are always lessons to be learned.
Ironically, the members of the Journey band learned a lot from Arnel’s story. They have changed in ways they could not have imagined. Watch the video above as Arnel narrates his inspiring story.
Arnel is not just singing those Journey songs. He is living them. Arnel says Don’t give up, I mean… “Don’t stop Believing”