Arnel Pineda Biography
Arnel Pineda is the 2nd generation lead singer of the popular band Journey.
September 5, 1967
A Rockstar is Born to tailor Restituto and seamstress Josefina Pineda in Sampaloc,
Manila, Philippines. Arnel is followed by brothers Rusmon, Roderick and Joselito.
1968 — 2007
His journey in my eyes
Erik Pineda’s first-hand account of life with his brother in this poignant piece.
We are four in a brood and Arnel heads the crew, being the eldest. As in his earlier testaments, life indeed was tough but it was bit manageable when our Ima (mama in Capampangan) was still around. Mother was headstrong, feisty, straight-forward and a strong resolve. I can say that our mother still wields a greater influence on Arnel compared to any other personality that he had encountered. He takes after her resiliency and courage; the traits that guide him to this day. Her ability to blend well with people was also instilled on him, in preparation for his future dealings with people of mixed culture and orientation. I marvel at his disarming humility, which erases any more reason not to like him. And all these good things about him were not learned easily; Arnel travelled a long way prior to his long-delayed arrival.
1978 — 1979
Music & Me
Arnel was a good student at Moises Salvador Elementary School. He was in choir and played in the rondalla (string) group. His parents encouraged – but usually made him – join singing contests, to Arnel’s dismay.
1980 — 1981
Arnel was a freshman at the Quiapo Parochial School when his mother succumbed to illness. With no medical insurance, hospital expenses forced the family to sell all their possessions. After his mother passed away and the family unable to pay rent, they got evicted. Arnel decides to venture out on his own, find a way to make money with hopes to go back to school.
1981 — 1982
Living on the Streets with Marie
For over a year, life was about selling scrap metal and discarded bottles, and cleaning ships docked at the harbor. Odd jobs came up twice a week – at the most. That meant food for those two days, and a rationed Marie Biscuit for the rest of the week. Bathing by gas stations’ water barrels, sleeping at the park and heating a can of sardines over a fire. But it was at wakes where he sang in exchange for food to augment his irregular supply.
For a Song
Realizing his voice was key to survival, Arnel joined his first band, Yjoz (Ijos)
Shakey’s Pizza was one of the places the band played.
We are the Champions
Regrouped as AMO, the band earns their most coveted honor to date, in Rock Wars ’86.
Yamaha / Asia World Band Explosion
Arnel wins overall Best Vocalist and his band Intensity Five is first runner-up in the competition.
A New Stage
Arnel and his band continue to perform around Manila and California Jam Club (CalJam) as the house band. In one of their Manila gigs, they impress a talent agent who arranges a contract for them to play in Hong Kong. This is when he meets and marries the mother of his second child, Angelo.
After The Fall
Arnel’s marriage falls apart and life goes into a downward spiral. Drugs and alcohol provided a respite that wrecks his voice. The doctor advises him to seek another profession as it is unlikely that he will sing again. With under $100 to his name, Arnel goes back home to live with his father Resty. Resty and friend Monet support him back to recovery. Within six months, his boss gives him another chance to restart his career in Hong Kong.
Arnel was guest entertainer at a New Year’s event in Hong Kong
Oh, Cherry. Oh, Cherub
In 2003, Arnel started dating Cherry Flores – brother Rusmon’s colleague from work. Two years later, they are blessed with a happy little boy, Cherub.
Home for good
After a few years in Hong Kong, talent manager Bert de Leon visits AP’s club, and Monet introduces them. Bert ushers AP into a recording career back home where his family and new baby (Cherub) await.
February 23, 2007
The Zoo Band – newly formed with some old friends – headlined in major clubs in Manila, Olongapo and other cities. Arnel’s biggest fan named Noel Gomez and his girlfriend Rona followed the band around and started filming their gigs.
March 3, 2007
The First Video
Noel Gomez publishes “Faithfully” by Journey
June 27, 2007
Neal Schon sees the videos
Journey’s Neal Schon, while on YouTube, sees AP’s cover of Survivor’s “The Search Is Over”. He ends up viewing about 50 covers – among them Journey’s biggest hits.
Neal Schon emails Noel Gomez
July 15, 2007
The Immigration Officer named Singer
This story spread via email quickly and inspired Ramona Diaz, director of the acclaimed documentary “Imelda”. The Immigration Officer describes his encounter with AP: http://arnelpinedarocks.com/1494/arnel/the-true-story-of-arnel-pinedas-visa-journey
August 20, 2007
The week-long audition in San Francisco consisted of singing Journey as well as other bands’ rock hits. Arnel learned new songs nightly to sing the following day. Upon his return, Arnel did not disclose the outcome of the audition.
September 15, 2007
AP’s album with his band, The Zoo is released and received favorably.
December 5, 2007
Journey’s official announcement
“Have I been Photoshopped into the photo?” | The official announcement is no longer online, but accessible in an archive: http://web.archive.org/web/20080116022131/http://www.journeymusic.com/index2.html
February 21, 2008
The First Test: An Audience of Millions
The Viña del Mar Festival in Chile was AP’s first public performance with Journey. Arnel explains in detail how close he was to bailing out.
February 21, 2008
The First Note
“Is this real? I’m singing with THE band Journey.”
March 8, 2008
The Second Test: An Audience of Diehard Journey Fans
Planet Hollywood, Las Vegas | Journey played to a house packed with faithful fans. Most of these fans probably know the lyrics to more than the fifty songs Arnel was encouraged to master. Let that sink in for a moment. Plus, this show was being recorded for the new album/DVD set, “Revelation”.
Ellen DeGeneres wants Arnel on the show
May 28, 2008
The Television Debut
Journey introduces their new lead singer on The Ellen DeGeneres show, and promotes their soon-to-be released new album, “Revelation”.
June 1, 2008
My Mother Taught Me To Sing
A mini rockumentary – as told by CBS News Sunday Morning – introduces Arnel to more people. Footnote: This is how a now-good-friend Edith Abad first saw Arnel!
June 3, 2008
Journey’s first album with AP on vocals drops. “Revelation” sells 105,000+ copies in the first week and lands #1 in Billboard’s Top Indie Albums Chart, #2 in Billboard’s Top Rock Albums Chart and #5 in Billboard’s Top 200 Albums Chart. It earned RIAA’s Certified Platinum status later that year.
October 5, 2009
Oprah believes in Journey
“I feel like I’m not allowed to be here, but here I am sitting in front of you.” – Arnel