AP's Life Featured in Fortress (Official School Paper of FSPNHS, Iloilo City)
Hi guys! It was a happy moment for me when our school paper adviser requested me to post the life story of Arnel Pineda as inspiration to the students. It is a known fact in school that I am an avid fan of AP. Here's the topic I have submitted. We know AP's story and yet I just wanted to share with you the happiness that comes with writing it.
My Inspiration...Your Inspiration...
Take it from the story of Arnel Pineda
Lead Vocalist, Journey Band
It was an unusual find for Neil Schon, founding member and Lead Guitarist of the famous international band, Journey, to get hold of Arnel Pineda in Youtube. He found him singing cover songs of famous singers like John Farnham, Led Zeppelin, and Air Supply to name a few but what's amazing was finding him sing the band's hit songs like Faithfully, Open Arms and Don't Stop Believing. Neil couldn't believe his ears and he had to get out of the house. He came back, he could not stop himself and went Youtube again. He informed the members of the band, contacted Noel Gomez, a fan who later became one of Arnel's closest friends and who uploaded the videos, called up Arnel and invited him to audition in the States.
Getting a visa was another thing but the Embassy Officer who interviewed Arnel was the same man who heard him sing a week before at Bagaberde. This is where the Zoo Band plays and Arnel was the lead vocals. He was in for a surprise when he heard Arnel belted out . "The singer was not just good, he was really darn good," he said. He couldn't shut up about it and he was telling anyone who would listen. "Dude, not only does this guy have pipes and range, he's got perfect pitch," he added. He asked Arnel to do a live rendition of Wheels In The Sky, Journey's old song which made interviews to stop for a while.The Officer told him, " Look Sir, there isn't a person in this embassy who would believe that story-going to try out for Journey!- not a soul would believe that.Except for me. I saw you sing last Friday and I couldn't shut up about how your vocals was perfect Steve Perry. So I tell you what. I'm giving you that visa. You're going to try out. And you're going to make it." Steve Perry was Journey's former lead vocalist who was replced by two more. In December 5, 2007, Journey announced they have found a new lead singer from the Philippines. The beautiful journey of Arnel Pineda began that very day.
Arnel as a child, suffered lots of difficulties. His mother, who was a tailor just like his father, died of rheumatic heart when he was thirteen years old. The four siblings had to separate ways because of financial constraints. Arnel, being the eldest, had to do odd jobs from collecting metal scrap, bottles and newspapers, washing jeepneys, and practically lived on the streets. He was teary-eyed recalling his past when interviewed by Miss Jessica Soho, broadcast journalist of GMA 7. When Arnel was fifteen, he started to join a band. Erik, his brother still recalled Arnel visiting him to share some pesos he earned while having his gigs and got Erik to stay with him and sent his brother to school. From then on, Arnel was a part of numerous local bands who performed here and abroad. Before he left for Journey, he was the lead vocalist of the Zoo Band. He had quite a number of followers, mostly foreigners, from singing in Olongapo City, Makati and Hongkong.
Despite all the success he has now, Arnel has retained his humility. He remains simple. In a Hong Kong magazine, it was mentioned that he still shops for toys at Divisoria. In an interview by Totel V. De Jesus in S magazine, March 2009 issue, page 52, he said that he longs for a normal day, that is starting the day going to the wet market and buy things for the kitchen as his wife cleans the house. He loves to cook and if time permits, he and his family go to the mall and watch a movie. When he retires, he'd like to own a farm and be a farmer for the rest of his life, "Sa puso ko kasi, kahit lumaki ako sa Maynila, isa akong probinsiyano," he quipped.
Journey has performed more than seventy concerts in the US and Europe from February to October 2008. Last March, the band performed in Japan, Mall of Asia, Philippines, Macau and Hawaii. It still has upcoming concerts which will start again this May.
When the band was asked at the press con, according to the Entertainment page of Philippine Daily Inquirer, March 4, 2009, D1,if there was ever a time when Journey felt disappointed with Pineda's performance and wanted to send him back to the Philippines, Journey Drummer Deen Castronovo replied, "Not even once." Keyboardist Jonathan Cain said, "Arnel is a clinch-hitter." He said that if they were a baseball team, Pineda would be the one scoring decisive points that would ensure victory. Arnel commented, " This is the best job in the world and as long as my band mates will let me rock with them, I will keep singing with Journey."
My sister, who works in Hong Kong, came home for a vacation. She plays the Revelation CD, the new album of Journey with Arnel as the Lead Singer, almost everyday, full volume. I was telling her to turn the volume down because it's too loud. Sometimes, she obliged; sometimes with a deaf ear.
I guess she was glad when I went to Manila a week after to follow up some papers so she can be left behind with whatever interest she has for that cd. I stayed with my other sister and to my surprise, she was also playing the same music....OMG! Both of them! What magic is there in that cd? My sister couldn't stop telling me about ARNEL, how he was discovered, how his music and his voice inspired her..."You have to see this!" She was holding the Las Vegas Concert of Journey. And she left for work. I was left at the house with nothing to do. I can't go places. I knew I'll be lost if I go around Laguna or Manila. So I was stuck at home. Then I remembered the DVD. I played it. OMG! I know what ticks the two sisters of mine! It's Arnel Pineda and the band to be fair...
I came home to Iloilo City with that never ending smile on my face. I borrowed the DVD concert. I told everyone about Arnel; every friend I meet, relatives and even people whom I do not know. Whenever I get the chance, I do it. I'm proud of Arnel. I was once an OFW and I know what it means to see a fellow Filipino performing on stage with a foreign audience.
I had the privilege of joining Arnel Pineda's Official Website. It's the most friendly site I have ever visited. I get to meet people who have the same interest as mine. We all have this common bond among us....the happiness we get from knowing and listening to AP's music...
I was wondering what it would be like meeting the man. I heard stories from those who have met Arnel during his concerts abroad that he has an amazing personality, he's very humble and friendly. When will my chance come to meet my idol? It was December 1, 2008 when out of the blue my sister ilovemrock phoned me inviting me to come to Manila. I asked, "Why?" Her explicit explanation, "Surprise, Inday!" Well, you know, no matter what, if it's Arnel, you just can't keep a secret. Long before our conversation ended, she said, "We need to attend the EB on the 13th. Arnel will be there!" Wow! Dreams do come true! And too soon! I can't sleep.I can't contain my happiness. I need to tell friends! I planned my trip, all expenses paid by my dear sister. I have to be away from my job. I need a break sometime in my life. And I need it now for my dear Arnel. I was very happy I was with my sister. We share the same happiness and joy. We both rock for him...At my age, who cares?
We brought with us a cake from Goldilocks. Well, sis made it for him. My name was etched next beside her on the cake with Arnel's big photo on top. When we arrived at Serye Restaurant in Libis, Quezon City, some of the fans in the site were there ahead of us. We felt we belonged to one big happy family because we became friends through Arnel. The first to arrive was Arnel's brothers, their wives and kids, close friends and Tatay Resty. Then OMG! Arnel with Cherry (Arnel's wife) and Cherub (Arnel's son)! I was on my feet. Gina (ilovemrock) was on her feet, too. And all of us were trying to get a hold of Arnel! trying to get a kiss, a hug, a handshake...whatever. It was chaos...a healthy chaos with giggles and sometimes controlled screams with shoving and pushing but gently enough to make AP smile...Arnel really made us special. He did not eat, just a pick, a bite, a sip. Meeting him confirms a lot of things. He has an amazing spirit, enough for you to just stare at him and thank the Lord for this wonderful man who inspires lives. Thanks to Journey for giving him the chance of a lifetime; Journey must be blessed for having a man like him in the band. Jonathan Cain, after learning about Arnel's struggles from his chidhood up to his later years as an OFW, credited the 41 year old Filipino's influence on him, saying, "Because of Arnel, I'm a changed man." The man is full of humility and kindness. He gave each one of us a fortune plant with the hope that it could give us luck and uplifts us when time gets really rough; just like him, once in his struggle, as he tried to tell us his life, he found the plant and bought it with the only money in his pocket and somehow, it brought him happiness.
Arnel Pineda gets a lot of respect from people around him. Music Universal said, "As a personal friend of Neil Schon's who I speak with almost everyday, may I add on behalf of Neil as well as many, many of us now here in the states... Arnel is highly respected and considered family to the band, management and all of us. Not only because of his grace and humbleness, but also because he is a rarity in our world of kindness and consideration. He exudes such a great spirit. Yes, he is bigger than life with raw and pure talent and well deserves his position with Journey! Not to mention his healthy mind and attitude about who he is and his talents. Such a rare thing to see in our business indeed.See you on the road..."
On the road with Arnel....
"An Evening With Journey", Journey's Concert at Mall of Asia, Philippines, March 14, 2009, Saturday, 8:00 P.M.
I've never been to a concert before, so I guess, it's quite understandable on my part to get so excited about it. In my 52 years, I never thought I would be seeing one because "it's not my style." LOL! My excitement was no less than my sister's. We're both very excited, I may say. And so I went to Manila alone, with lots of my loved ones and friends left behind who could have wanted to go with me and yet had to stay in Iloilo City for a number of reasons. My! My! My! I am going to see a concert with Arnel Pineda performing. I saw his concerts on a cd. This time, it's live!
We arrived at MOA at about five in the afternoon. My sister and I were so happy to see that all the parking lots at MOA were full. We were jumping for joy: enough to conclude that many people will see the concert. We thought it would be a big treat to Filipinos seeing a fellow "kababayan" perform with the famous international rock band. We were seated with fellow friends at the site in the VIP section although some were in the Diamond section. When the concert began, OMG! I thought MOA would collapse to the screams and shouts of people around when Arnel went to the stage with the JBoys. What an awesome performer! He sang more than 20 songs with jumps here and there. Man! His energy was just superb! I'm sure even the band members enjoyed Arnel's performance. Arnel kept on saying, "I'm proud to be Pinoy!" It was a night of pure talent. He charmed the audience. I felt the lump in my throat when I saw Americans, Australians, Chinese, Filipinos, and other races dancing to a Filipino singer, all of us enjoying the beautiful music of Journey. That night, music unites us all. It was a happy moment. My fellow friends at the site, my sis and I never sat down. We rocked all the way for our dear friend Arnel. We danced, sang and shouted for joy! Really, Arnel made us proud that night. We were treated to the best concert ever.
He will always be my inspiration and happiness. I speak not only for myself but for all the plokkers and friends of Arnel Pineda because we are one big happy family. We will always support Arnel and Journey. Just look at what inspiration do we get from the lyrics of the Journey songs. "Be good to yourself. Don't stop believing. Don't give up. Never walk away. In our darkest hour, we look to the sky. With a silent prayer, believe that God's on our side. See a new day. Start a new way. Get it straight. Make a change for the better. When you learn to lose, you know what it takes to win."
Arnel Pineda could also be your inspiration! Why not? He does not only entertain people but moves lives. Go Arnel! Go Journey!