Film about Journey's Arnel Pineda's rise to fame premieres

Posted at 04/20/2012 5:03 PM | Updated as of 04/20/2012 6:23 PM

Members of the band, Journey, rocked the red carpet in New York for the world premiere of the documentary, "Don't Stop Believin': Everyman's Journey".

The film, which is spotlighted at the Tribeca Film Festival, tells the unlikely obscurity-to-fame story of Filipino singer, Arnel Pineda.

In 2007, Journey was looking for a new lead singer. The band's guitarist and singer, Neal Schon was searching the Internet late one night and happened upon a YouTube video of Arnel Pineda and his band Zoo, performing Journey's "Faithfully" in the Philippines.

Schon was so impressed by the performance that he e-mailed Pineda, who was subsequently flown to the U.S. to audition.

The film documents Pineda's audition and reception into the band, as well as the band's most extensive tour to date in 2008.

Pineda told Reuters that five years later, his fairytale success still hasn't sunk in.

"It will never sink in. Until now, up to now, it's still just a dream. The only difference is my eyes are always open, I feel it, it's in my soul, it's in my heart," said Pineda.

Schon says that the first two days of auditioning did not go well, but that was because Pineda needed to rest.

"From the third day in rehearsal when he came out from the Philippines, it fit like a glove and felt really magical and we got in the studio and things were just flowing. I mean the 'Revelation' record, it's pretty unheard of you know, of us coming back with a new record, with new songs and have a number one hit single," said Schon.

Guitarist and keyboard player Jonathan Cain said the logistics of hiring a Filipino singer for an American band was daunting at first.

"I said, how are we going to do this? How are we going to do immigration, how are we going to ... he lives there, how we going to ...? Lots of questions and somehow it manages to work, you know, because of his commitment," said Cain.

Pineda's family was poor and the singer lived on the streets of Manilla for a period. At first, life on the road in the United States was tough for him. Despite his success, he missed his family back home. But he says he wouldn't trade his career.

"Being on stage with these guys is the most wonderful thing. You know, being a part of one of the most anthemic songs out there, being made by one of the biggest rock 'n roll bands in history, it couldn't get any better than that," said Pineda.

According to the movie, "Don't Stop Believin'", which was a hit for Journey when Steve Perry was the lead singer, is the most downloaded song in history.