Arnel Pineda Biography – Life Story

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.

The beginningap-mom
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.

AMO Band, Lito Ablang


For a Song

Realizing his voice was key to survival, Arnel joined his first band, Yjoz (Ijos)




AMO Band, Lito Ablang



Shakey’s Pizza was one of the places the band played.

AMO Band, Lito Ablang


We are the Champions

Regrouped as AMO, the band earns their most coveted honor to date, in Rock Wars ’86.

AMO Band, Lito Ablang


Yamaha / Asia World Band Explosion

Arnel wins overall Best Vocalist and his band Intensity Five is first runner-up in the competition.

AMO Band


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.

YouTube – Now & Forever, Footloose


Hong Kong

Arnel was guest entertainer at a New Year’s event in Hong Kong

Cherry Flores-Pineda
Cherub’s Baptism


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.

YouTube – Another One Bites The Dust – Arnel Pineda with 9mm Band, Hongkong


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.

Noel Gomez
To AP’s left are: Noel, Zoo drummer Mckoy and Rona.

February 23, 2007

The Zoo

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.


Noel Gomez, docnancs
YouTube – Faithfully – original upload by Noel Gomez

March 3, 2007

The First Video

Noel Gomez publishes “Faithfully” by Journey

Noel Gomez, edakdak
YouTube – The Search Is Over – original upload by Noel Gomez
Noel Gomez, edakdak
YouTube – The Search Is Over – original upload by Noel Gomez

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

Noel Gomez, APR
Noel recounts the day he received Neal Schon’s email

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:

Andrew McNeice,
The very first band photo taken after AP’s audition

August 20, 2007

The Audition

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.


The Zoo, mcamusic
YouTube – Pain in My Heart – The Zoo

September 15, 2007

“Zoology” released

AP’s album with his band, The Zoo is released and received favorably.
Journey Announces New Lead Singer, Arnel Pineda

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:


CineDiaz, PBS Independent Lens

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.

You-Tube – Separate Ways

10:00 PM
February 21, 2008

The First Note

“Is this real? I’m singing with THE band Journey.”

Journey, Nomota LLC
YouTube – Any Way You Want It

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

The Ellen Show
The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Manny Rodrigo

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”.

CBS, Art Espiritu

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

A Revelation

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.






The Oprah Winfrey Show / honeykovideo

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

Arnel Pineda Biography Source