Thursday, June 21, 2012


Current Project: LEGACY series
Status: Doing edits to book #6
Posted by: Genene Valleau, writing as Genie Gabriel

I wanted to share this inspirational story with you that I came across while researching classic rock bands to feature on my Rock'n'Romance blog.

I'm older than most of you, so remember the rock band, Journey, the first time around. :)

I wasn't a die-hard fan, but I enjoyed their music and memorized their hits. These were in the days before kids and writing and a lot of other commitments. But I digress…

This band has had many huge successes. A quote from their Web site <> states, "Since the group's formation in 1973, the band has earned 19 Top 40 singles and 25 Gold and Platinum albums. The band's Greatest Hits album is certified 15 times Platinum, bringing Journey into the elite club of Diamond-certified album holders." 

Starting as an all-instrumental act, the band finally found big success when it hired the legendary Steve Perry as a vocalist. A string of hits followed, such as "Don't Stop Believin'," "Faithfully," and "Open Arms." They went through a number of changes in the band's members, and their lead singer developed health problems and eventually left Journey permanently. The band seemed to fade away.

However, when their song, "Don't Stop Believin'" was featured on the finale of the TV show, "The Sopranos," interest in the band flared again.

But they had no lead singer. 

Desperate to find someone who could recreate the classic Journey sound, one of the founding members turned to YouTube, and discovered Arnel Pineda fronting a band in the Philippines that mimicked classic rock bands--including Journey. 

Impressed, he called the other band members and they flew Pineda to the U.S. for an audition. Within a few songs, Pineda was their new vocalist, joining the band in 2008. I especially enjoyed this CBS News Sunday Morning interview <> that mixes an interview with the band, old Journey clips featuring vocalist Steve Perry (in the earlier days), and footage of their new frontman Arnel Pineda. 

If you watch the entire interview, be prepared for a touching story. Pineda's mother taught him to sing from a very early age, and his parents entered him in singing contests, which he said were torture for the shy kid he was. His mother died when Pineda was 13, leaving the family bankrupt after her illness. Pineda ended up homeless, gathering pieces of metal for food.

Eventually he ended up singing in nightclubs, as he was doing when Journey saw the video of him. The band has released two albums since Pineda joined them, which contains some new material written by several of the band members including Pineda. They have been touring extensively around the world, and in the United States and Canada for the rest of 2012--fronted by a formerly homeless teenager from the Philippines. 

His mother's gift of song lives on in Pineda and is giving new life to the incredible journey of this band. As Pineda says, he's not just singing "Don't Stop Believin'," he's living it. And the band who had faded is once again sparkling in the spotlight. 

Love the happy ending (or new beginning :) to Pineda's story, and I find inspiration in several ways from what he and the band have accomplished. Learn your craft, take advantage of opportunities, look for answers in unlikely places, and "Don't Stop Believin'."

Hope you enjoy the interview and the music, as well as the inspiration!


Deborah Wright said...

What a lovely story, Genene! And what a great reminder to keep on keepin' on. :-) You never know what may be just around the corner.

Paty Jager said...

I remember watching something on tv about his. Probably the same interview you have posted. This is a great message. Keep on on believin' in yourself and good things will come.

Sarah Raplee said...

I love positive irony, don't you? Thanks for sharing this. Wonderful story!!!

Genene Valleau, writing as Genie Gabriel said...

Hi, ladies! This was a story that really touched me. I'm glad it resonated with all of you also. :)