MANILA – After Charice, it was Arnel Pineda’s turn to impress Oprah Winfrey, one of the world’s most powerful women today.
Pineda and the rest of the members of the American rock band “Journey” recently guested on Oprah to promote the group’s latest album, “Revelation.”
During the show, Journey's Filipino front man could not believe that he was being interviewed by no less than Winfrey herself.
"I'm facing you (Winfrey) right now. You are [one of the] biggest [names] in show business and I'm facing you. It's like… I'm not allowed to be here but I'm here. And I thank God for that," he said.
The show featured Pineda’s journey “from total obscurity to recapturing the voice of one of the greatest bands of our time."
Pineda’s rags-to-riches story has inspired many people around the world. His life story will be made into a film titled "Don't Stop Believing: Every Man's Journey." The biopic will hit the big screen next year.
The Filipino singer was discovered on YouTube by Journey’s guitarist Neal Schon. Jonathan Cain (keyboard), Deen Castronovo (drums) and Ross Valory (bass) were equally impressed when they first watched him on YouTube performing Journey’s “Faithfully.”
Cain said: "Neal contacted us. I checked the YouTube video just like he said. And there he was singing. And I said, 'The guy got great pipes, does he speak English?’ And, ‘How are we going to get him to the stage to check him out?'" Cain said.
Valory said he had “goosebumps surplus” when he first heard Pineda sing.
Castronovo was also blown away by Pineda’s voice. “It was frightening just to hear that voice come out from that little guy. We couldn't believe it. It’s just so strong. And the best part about it was just how humble the man was, how humble human being, beautiful heart."
For Pineda, being part of Journey still feels like a dream.
"I've seen enough pain and poverty in the Philippines. I've never been that big. All I wanted was to be able to get out of it -- the pain and the poverty - and live decently everyday," he said.
He said touring around the world with his band mates is “amazing, unbelievable and fantastic.” “All the superlative words that you can utter.”
He admitted that he felt the pressure when the band played in the Philippines early this year. “There was a big responsibility and thank God I pulled it off.”
And now that he is making lots of money, Pineda said he bought a home for his family and set up his own foundation to help poor Filipinos.
Journey's Manila concert is now available on DVD in the United States.