It's been four and half years since Journey hit YouTube in search of a new lead singer. The band stumbled upon Filipino singer Arnel Pineda, and after flying him to the U.S. to hear him audition, knew they had struck gold. In the new documentary "Don't Stop Believin': Everyman's Journey," viewers get a look at Pineda's life before and since achieving stardom. The singer spoke to Metro about his wild ride.
What did you think when you first saw the movie?
I can't stand looking at myself in a movie or hearing myself singing. For me, it's too weird. I'm my worst critic. But then, a big part of me is saying, look at the brighter side: This movie is going to inspire and give hope to a lot of people. It kind of gave me the comfort zone, like, OK, the movie's not bad at all.
When you got the e-mail from guitarist Neal Schon inviting you to audition, you almost didn't take him up on his offer.
I [didn't] believe that Neal -- he's a guitar god, he's from one of the biggest bands in the world -- would contact me to try out for the position of singer. [Laughs] It was the weirdest e-mail of all. But then it was actually him after all.
People always say you sound just like Steve Perry. Do you ever wish you had a voice that was more distinctively your own?
Well, you know what, this is what God gave me. I can't change it. It's me who's suffering when I try to change it. So from the moment that I realized that it's not gonna change, I just went with it.
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How much of your personality is infused in Journey's songs?
I think a lot, now, because if you try to listen very carefully, Mr. Steve Perry's voice is very distinctive. You know it's his voice when you hear it, even from afar, and not mine. So I think I was able to put a new twist on Journey's legacy songs, and then the new ones that we recorded together.
You talk at length in the film about struggling with addiction. Was that difficult to discuss?
No. Those things, which almost destroyed my voice, I'm not uncomfortable talking about. I'm actually comfortable, and I am more confident talking about it because I want the young generation to know what drugs can do to you.
But what if it sends the opposite message, since you're now a superstar?
No, I'm not a superstar, c'mon. I think we should always be aware of our surroundings and we should really listen to our parents. And if we truly, truly believe that we are going somewhere because of our talent or because of our dreams, you're gonna get there as long as you believe in yourself. There shouldn't be anything in this world that should stop you.
What do you want viewers to take away from the film?
Well, faith. Keep the faith and then never, never, never disregard yourself as a loser, because each and every one of us always wins in the end. As long as you side [with] the good side, you always win.