Arnel Pineda grew up in an impoverished neighborhood in Manilla in the Philippines. His mother died when he was 13 leaving him homeless. He earned money for food by collecting bottles, cans and newspapers and selling them to recyclers. Despite living in poverty Arnel had a gift; he could sing.
Putting his gift to work
At fifteen Arnel became the lead singer of a band, performing in bars and restaurants like Shakey’s Pizza Parlor.
Over the years Arnel would join and leave several bands winning several competitions and gaining local notoriety.
Trying to get by, hoping to be discovered
As he approached the age of 40 Arnel was still living from gig to gig, paycheck to paycheck, trying to support himself and his family.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the world one of the world’s iconic rock bands was in search of a new lead singer. Their lead guitar player spent hours online listening to dozens and dozens of singers on YouTube. He was coming up empty. Without a lead singer this band, members of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, would cease to go on. He was about to give up. “Just one more video” he told himself. That “one more video” was of Arnel. “I just found our singer” the guitarist told himself.
It’s not a hoax
He may have found his lead singer, but now he needed to actually find him. He sent an email to the guy who posted the video of Arnel, one of his good friends, asking him to forward the email to Arnel. He was inviting Arnel to California to audition for the band. The email included the words “This is not a hoax!” Arnel didn’t believe him.
A few days went by and Arnel decided to reply. It was indeed not a hoax. Three weeks later he was on a plane to California.
The audition was a success and at 40 years old Arnel Pineda was the new lead singer for the iconic rock band, Journey.
Don’t Stop Believin!