Journey finds a new lead singer… On YouTube!

Here’s one for the books. Popular American rock band Journey, who popularized the radio hits “Open Arms” and “Faithfully”, has a new lead singer and he’s proudly Filipino.

Arnel Pineda, lead singer of local band The Zoo, was chosen by Journey guitarist Neal Schon, keyboardist Jonathan Cain, bassist Ross Valory and drummer Deen Castronovo to replace Journey vocalist Jeff Scott Soto who left the band last June.

In a statement, Pineda said joining the legendary rock band after years of covering their radio hits is a dream come true. “It’s so exciting to sing with one of the best bands in the world. It’ll be a lot of hard work on my part and I’m actually looking forward to the scrutiny I’ll get from the hardcore Journey fans,” he said.

He also said he is not out to emulate Journey’s most famous lead singer Steve Perry. “I know they’ll expect me to sound exactly like ‘the voice’ (Steve Perry), but that will never happen. I know there’s only one Steve Perry in this world,” Pineda said.

Pineda’s success is no accident. He joined his first band at age 15 and has been singing professionally for the past 25 years. His phenomenal voice also won him the Best Vocalist award at the World Band Explosion in 1987 — a feat that he repeated the following year.

Pineda has been a veteran of several bands and is a regular in clubs in Makati, Olongapo and Quezon City. His latest band, The Zoo, released its first album “Zoology” under MCA Universal Records last September.

It is Pineda’s stint in The Zoo that got him noticed by Journey axeman Schon.

Schon said he was looking for a replacement singer on popular video-sharing site when he discovered videos of Pineda and The Zoo covering Journey songs.

“I was frustrated about not having a singer. So I went on YouTube for a couple of days and just sat on it for hours. I was starting to think I was never going to find anybody. But then I found The Zoo and I watched a bunch of different video clips that they had posted,” Schon revealed.

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