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Friday, April 27, 2012

Pinoy rockstar Arnel Pineda's long 'Journey' to fame

An amazing rags to riches story. This is is the essence of the feature film “Don’t Stop Believin’: Everyman’s Journey” about the life of Arnel Pineda, the Filipino frontman of the legendary American rock band Journey.

Directed by Ramona Diaz, the film captures Pineda’s difficult yet extraordinary path to success.
It premiered on April 19 in the annual Tribeca film festival, a report of the entertainment news said.

The Tribeca Film Festival — founded in 2002 by Jane Rosenthal, Robert De Niro and Craig Hatkoff — was a response to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center.

The main purpose of the festival was to contribute to the long-term recovery of lower Manhattan as well as to celebrate New York City as a major player in the filmmaking industry.

Unlikely story
The film "Don't Stop Believin" traces the unlikely story of Pineda, 40 — from how he started singing on the streets of Manila to cope with poverty, to how he was discovered on Youtube, and eventually became the lead singer of Journey, replacing frontman Steve Perry.
According to a synopsis on the film’s official site, the magical journey started for Pineda when Neal Schon, guitarist of Journey, checked out Pineda’s video on YouTube singing cover songs of the band.
Schon was half a world away from Pineda and was about to give up to his frustration of not being able to find a lead singer to replace Perry who left the band to go solo. Then, Schon chanced upon Pineda’s videos.
“After watching the videos over and over again, I had to walk away from the computer and let what I heard sink in because it sounded too good to be true," Schon said.
He added: “I tried to get a hold of him and I finally heard from him that night, but it took some convincing to get him to believe that it really was me and not an impostor."
After a few screening tests, live auditions and recording sessions, Pineda was offered the gig as the legendary band’s frontman.

Meanwhile, Diaz, in a report of the news site AM New York said the magic of the story is Pineda's personal history set against the backdrop of big, familiar, anthemic ballads.

For her, Journey has now become more of an international band with Pineda, expanding their fan base to Filipinos and Filipino-Americans in the process.

Her favorite Pineda-fronted Journey songs are “Change for the Better” and “City of Hope”.
Early life and hardships
The film's website tells how fate did not seem kind to Pineda as a boy, having lost his mother at age 12.
He would hang out with his friends, singing in exchange for food, and sleeping at a park at nighttime with other homeless kids.
Pineda then found work in a Manila Bay pier, scavenging scrap metal, bottles and newspapers for the mere eight pesos (about 20 cents) a day.
When darkness falls, he would roam the bars of Manila, singing his heart out and meeting other fellow musicians whom he will form and dissolve bands with through the years.
He then moved to Hong Kong in 1991 where he performed for 15 years.
Pineda lost his voice twice, once in 1995 due to drug and alcohol abuse and in 2005 due to Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMJD).
He decided that it was time to return to the Philippines, hoping to make it big in his home country.
His dream to become popular in the Philippines never happened since something bigger came up, Schon phoned him and the rest is history.
A long Journey
On a report of the news site The FilAm, Pineda related how the film opens with the story about his first concert with Journey in Chile.
“I still get goose bumps thinking about that very first show. Nakakatakot. I wanted to just get to the first flight out but when I saw the people, I was overwhelmed. I will never forget that day.” said Pineda.
He added: “This movie took four years to make.” “They really followed the tour and took time to know the people behind the scenes. “Journey gave me the go signal. They said it would be good for people to know my story.”

Pineda has been with Journey since 2007 and has released 2 albums with the band:

  • 2008 - Revelation
  • 2011 - Eclipse
Pineda said he intends to stay with the band “for as long as they want me.” - VVP, GMA News

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