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Arnel Pineda shares his inspiring life story with Oprah Winfrey

Journey’s lead vocalist Arnel Pineda not only impressed Oprah Winfrey with his amazing talent, but also with his inspiring story to success. The Queen of Talk couldn’t believe that the guy who used to sing to his friends for a living had worked his way to the international music scene through sheer luck and a tenor voice that recreated the soul of the American ‘80s rock band. “When you opened your mouth on this stage we went all like, ‘Jeeesus!’ I mean, wow,” said Oprah to Arnel during Journey’s guest appearance on The Oprah Winfrey Show last October 5.

His fellow band members also confirmed how lucky they were to find someone as good as Arnel. Lead guitarist Neil Schon even recalled the first time he came across an amateur video of Arnel with his previous band The Zoo on YouTube two years ago. “That's why he was really good. It was only a little HD camera at the back of the Hard Rock Cafe in Manila and he sounded amazing!”

They even felt what bass guitarist Ross Valary called “GBS” or goose bumps surplus when they all checked out the YouTube video. The fact that arnel spoke English further made him the perfect candidate to be their new lead singer back then. “It was frightening just to see that voice come out that little guy! Hahaha! It’s just so strong. And the best part of it was to see how humble the man was, just how humble a human being, [he’s got a] beautiful heart,” added drummer Dean Castronovo.

Truer words were never spoken because Arnel immediately donated $25,000 to Sagip Kapamilya for typhoon victims a few days before he came home from their recently-concluded concert tour in the US. Soon after he arrived in Manila last October 7, he signed up for an all-star benefit concert at Music Museum on October 10, plus another one with the international pop artist Katy Perry at SM Mall of Asia concert grounds on November 15. While his own Quezon City residence was affected by the mass flooding, Arnel had no second thoughts about aiding other typhoon victims.

While Journey is on a seven-month break, Arnel is determined to launch the pet project of his A.P. foundation, which would mainly cater to street children just like what he once was. It follows the concept of “kariton street education,” popularized by CNN Hero finalist Efren Peñaflorida. “Tatawagin ko yung project na street school. Magdadala ako ng teachers around Roxas Boulevard or sa Payatas para bigyan ng education ang mga bata. Biglang buhos ang grasya sa akin so in my own little way sana maibalik ko yung blessings na yun sa mga mahihirap lalo na dun sa mga bata,” he said in an interview with Showbiz News Ngayon.

Arnel also wants to inspire more people with his biopic Don’t Stop Believing: Every Man’s Journey directed by the critically-acclaimed Ramon Diaz who was behind the controversial docu-film of ex-first lady Imelda Marcos back in 2004. “Yes sinundan ako. Nung una medyo nailang ako lalo na yung mga kasama ko kasi ngayon lang nila ginawa yun e even after 40 years in the business. Yung tipong every word na sinasabi nila nakukuha nung mic at camera. Pero eventually nasanay na din sila. Dun mo makikita kung ano yung mood namin kapag talagang pagod na pagod kami. Let’s cross our fingers na sana makapasok ito sa Cannes Film Festival,” he stated.

by Rachelle Siazon