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Arnel Pineda

Background information
Birth name Arnel Pineda
Born September 5, 1967 (1967-09-05) (age 42)
Sampaloc, Manila, Philippines
Genres Rock, Hard rock, Soft rock
Occupations Singer-songwriter
Instruments Vocals
Years active 1982–Present
Labels Universal Music Group
Associated acts Ijos Band, Amo, New Age, Most W@nted, The Zoo, Journey

Arnel Pineda (born September 5, 1967) is a Filipino singer-songwriter and is currently the lead singer of the American rock band Journey.[1] Pineda has enjoyed a successful musical career in Asia for the last 25 years.



ali 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 her favorite singers like Karen Carpenter and Barbra Streisand. Growing up, his parents entered him in many singing contests.

His mother, who had been suffering from rheumatic heart disease, died when he was thirteen. Her illness had left their family deep in debt. Being a year behind on their rented apartment and unable to sufficiently provide for the family, his father decided to move out and ask relatives to take in Pineda's siblings. To ease his father's burden, Pineda quit school and volunteered to strike out on his own.

For about two years his life was spent out on the streets, sleeping wherever he could: in public parks, or on a narrow bench outside a friend's crowded house. He earned meager money by collecting glass bottles, newspapers, and scrap metal and selling them to recyclers. He would also go to the pier with his friends and take on odd jobs like cleaning scrap metal and docked ships. He didn't have much to eat, sometimes rationing a small package of biscuit as his meal for two days. Despite all these hardships he tried to remain optimistic about his future[citation needed].


Singing career

In 1982, when Pineda was 15 years old, he became the lead singer of the Filipino musical group called Ijos Band. He used to sing in Jolibee's. In 1986, some members of Yjoz formed a group called Amo. Amo entered and won the Rock Wars contest in the Philippines.[2]

In 1988, Amo entered and won the Philippines leg of the Yamaha World Band Explosion. They went on to the finals in Hong Kong, but were not qualified to win due to a technicality. The rules stated the winning song had to be an original composition. However, they also stated that the song entry in the finals had to be the same song with which the band won their country's leg of the competition. Amo's winning song in the Philippines was Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody", obviously not an original. After the contest, the band continued as Amo, performing live. They opened for Robert Palmer in Manila in 1989.[2] Amo played in clubs in Quezon City, Olongapo City and Makati City, which are located in Luzon, the biggest island in the Philippines. Amo was very popular in the renowned Chinese-owned California Jams club in Olongapo City, which was frequented by United States military personnel.[2]

In 1990, Pineda and other members of Amo formed another band called Intensity Five and once again entered the Yamaha World Band Explosion. Pineda won the Best Vocalist award and the band came in as first runner up.[2]

Later in 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 one-and-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 City.

In 1991, during one of those performances, a talent agent spotted Pineda and New Age and asked them to move to Hong Kong to perform at a very popular entertainment restaurant called Grammy's. With New Age, Pineda performed six nights a week, Tuesday through Sunday, for several years thereafter.[2] After a long-term serious relationship failed in 1994, Pineda suffered health problems, which almost destroyed his voice. He returned to the Philippines. After six months of recuperation, he was able to sing again.[2][3] He returned to Hong Kong and resumed singing with his band. In 1998, the owner of Igor's, the premiere theme restaurant/nightclub in Hong Kong, asked New Age to perform there. Dressed in skeleton outfits, they called themselves "The Rolling Bones".[2]

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. Most of the album’s ten original songs were slow ballads, with only two upbeat numbers, one of which carries a Latin style. One of the songs, “Iiyak Ka Rin” (You Will Cry Too) became a karaoke favorite in Asia, while another song "Sayang" (Too Bad) became a radio favorite. Pineda wrote and arranged several songs. Pineda continued to perform with New Age while making his album and for several years thereafter. In 2001, Pineda sang one song with Filipino band, South Border’s album The Way We Do. The song is called “Looking Glass”. Earlier that year, Pineda formed a new band,eventually called "9mm" and played around the city's top bars including The Hard Rock Cafe in Makati City.The band played a three month stint at “The Edge” in Lai Kwai Fong, Hong Kong in 2002.

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.[4] On their only day off, Sundays, the band often performed at Filipino community events.

In 2005, Arnel recorded the theme song of the short-lived Filipino radio show "Dayo". A band named The Visitors was briefly formed for promotion purposes of the "Dayo" soundtrack consisting of three members from Ijos/Yjoz, Amo, New Age and Most W@nted.[2]

The Zoo

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.


Arnel Pineda at the PNC Bank Arts Center, New Jersey, 8/11/2008

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. On June 28, 2007,[5] 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 the latter 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.[6] On August 12,[7] Pineda, along with his manager Bert de Leon, flew to Marin County, just north of San Francisco, for a two-day audition.[8][9] The star-struck Pineda was welcomed warmly but he described the audition as "nerve-wracking, tense".[10] 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.[11]

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.[12][13]

Chilean media acclaimed Pineda's performance (translated to English): "The new vocalist fit very well with the band, his vocal aptitudes shining through, which are very similar to the legendary musician of the band, Steve Perry."[14] 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." [15]

Journey returned to the US for a private Remax 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.

Revelation album and tour

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 RIAA with more than 336,000 units sold within the first few days.[16]. It achieved platinum status by October 1, 2008.

The US version of the album (distributed exclusively through Wal-Mart) consists of 11 new songs, and 11 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).[17]

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."[15]

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."[18]

Journey's 2008 tour accompanying the release of Revelation began on June 8, 2008, in Spain, followed by four dates in Germany, and one date in the Netherlands. Journey toured the United Kingdom and Ireland from June 17 through June 28, 2008. The US tour (with Heart and Cheap Trick) began on July 9, 2008, in Denver, Colorado, and continued through October 4, 2008, in Albuquerque, NM. Many dates were already sold out, well in advance. Pineda celebrated his 41st birthday on September 5, 2008 at a concert in Toronto, Canada's Molson Amphitheater. In September 2008, Journey performed back-to-back sold-out concerts at the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles.[19] Pineda sang in 57 concerts in the 2008 Journey World Tour. Journey's recent visit to the United States Gulf Coast performing at the Wharf Amphitheater, Orange Beach, Alabama and at the Pensacola Civic Center, Pensacola, Florida was a tremendous hit due to the large Filipino communities living in that area. In the second leg of the tour Journey will have an Asian–Hawaiian tour, going to Tokyo, Japan, Nagoya Japan, Osaka Japan, Manila Philippines, Macau China, Kahului Hawaii, Honolulu (2) Hawaii, and Waikoloa, Hawaii. The Manila concert has been released as a live concert DVD. Total concert revenue for Journey in 2008 was $35,695,481.[20]


Arnel's father still works as a tailor in the Philippines. His three brothers are each married, and live in the Philippines as well. Arnel supported his second youngest brother, Roderick (Erik), through University school.

Arnel has three sons, Matthew (20 years), Angelo (12 years), and Cherub (3 years). When he's not on tour with Journey, he returns to Quezon City, Philippines, where he lives with his wife, Cherry, and their children.




Solo albums

With Zoo

With Journey

Other lead vocals

  • South Border — The Way We Do (track "Looking Glass") (2001)


  1. ^ Rolling Stone (December 5, 2007). "Journey Finds New Singer the Old-Fashioned Way: On the Internet", Retrieved on February 5, 2008.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h (2008). "Unofficial Biography". Retrieved on 9 March 2008.
  3. ^ (January 17, 2008). "Zoo's Arnel Pineda: Journey's New Voice". Retrieved on February 5, 2008.
  4. ^ Julve, Smiley D. (January 2005), "What it takes to be Most W@nted", The Sun Internet Edition. Retrieved on February 5, 2008.
  5. ^ Noel Gomez's statement in reply to a comment on his video of The Zoo covering Journey's "Faithfully" on YouTube. Retrieved on February 5, 2008.
  6. ^ Dizon, David (January 19, 2008), "Journey's Pineda: Proud to be Pinoy", ABS-CBN News Online. Retrieved on February 5, 2008.
  7. ^ Arnel Pineda in an interview with Boy Abunda on the TV show Boy & Kris. Video of the interview uploaded on YouTube, retrieved on February 5, 2008.
  8. ^ Amoyo, Aster (January 17, 2008), "If I Know", Journal Online. Retrieved on February 5, 2008.
  9. ^ ABS-CBN News Online (January 21, 2008). "YouTube gives Filipino singers the big 'cyber break'", Retrieved on February 5, 2008.
  10. ^ Concepcion, Pocholo (January 14, 2008) "A life straight out of a movie" Retrieved on February 28, 2008.
  11. ^ CNN Video (December 24, 2007). "Viral Videos on the Web". Retrieved on February 5, 2008.
  12. ^ Tour Schedule, Retrieved on February 17, 2008.
  13. ^ El Mercurio Online (October 31, 2007) "Nelly Furtado, Marco Antonio Solís y Journey son los nuevos confirmados de Viña 2008". Retrieved on February 5, 2008.
  14. ^ (February 21, 2008) "Journey prendió al "Monstruo" Retrieved on April 4, 2008.
  15. ^ a b KNBR (12 March 2008). "Interview with Jonathan Cain by San Francisco radio station KNBR" Retrieved on March 15, 2008.
  16. ^ "Rag Magazine July 2008: Interview with Deen Castronovo" Retrieved on July 14, 2008.
  17. ^ (March 11, 2008). "Journey set to release 'Revelation' June 3 exclusively at Wal-Mart" Retrieved on March 12, 2008.
  18. ^ (December 5, 2007). "Journey welcomes Arnel Pineda with "Open Arms" to their family as the band's new lead singer" Retrieved on December 6, 2007.
  19. ^ Arnel Pineda...Journey's Great Equalizer
  20. ^ "Billboard Top 25 Tours"Retrieved on April 3, 2009

External links

Preceded by
Jeff Scott Soto
Journey lead vocalist
2007 – present
Succeeded by


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