In a new interview with Front Row Live Entertainment, Arnel Pineda was asked about his singing approach on JOURNEY's last two studio albums, 2008's "Revelation" and 2011's "Eclipse", as well as the band's upcoming effort, which is currently being recorded for a 2021 release.
"You try to capture the soul of [former JOURNEY singer] Steve Perry when you're singing those songs," Arnel said (see video below). "You want it to be you in that album, but you have to be able to capture that soul and relay it, because the fans are expecting, it has to be JOURNEY. They got used to that sound.
"I'm just trying to be me now — I just sing it the way I wanna sing it — because I like to assume that I've already captured the soul," he explained. "I just want to be me with my voice, and then I just wanna relax and be able to share my own passion, but at the same time, still send the soul of Steve Perry out there. And so far, the [other] guys [in the band] are not complaining about my sound. I'm just kind of anxious now what the fans will say as soon as they hear this new album. The anxiety is gonna kill me now."
Asked if the new JOURNEY album sees the band going in a new musical direction, Arnel said: "They're trying. But at the same time, they're trying to stay somewhat in the tradition, in the legacy. It's a 50-50 thing. I mean, it would be kind of boring if you keep on staying on the same path. Of course, we people, we get bored and we try to do something else, see if works. And then, if it works, then, 'Hey, let's do it more.' And then, when it's starting to get sour again, then maybe we should get back to the old style and let's just put a little twist and maybe the fans will like it again."
Last week, Pineda said in another interview that he has finished recording three songs so far for JOURNEY's new LP. Arnel is laying down his tracks at his studio in Manila, Philippines, while the rest of the band is in the United States.
JOURNEY's most recent LP, "Eclipse", was released in May 2011. The Walmart exclusive debuted on the Billboard 200 album chart at No. 13 — eight spots lower than the band's previous album, 2008's "Revelation" — which also went on to hit No. 1 on Billboard's Top Independent Albums chart.
Born in the Philippines, Pineda has been fronting the legendary rockers since 2007 when JOURNEY guitarist Neal Schon discovered him leading a Manila cover band on YouTube. A vocal doppelganger for Perry, Arnel has helped put JOURNEY back in arenas once again. But some fans were not happy about the addition of Pineda, complaining about his ethnicity and dismissing his voice as a "copycat" of Perry.
Two months ago, Schon told SiriusXM's "Trunk Nation With Eddie Trunk" that the recording sessions for the new JOURNEY album are "going really, really amazing. We've got, like, 13 new tracks in the can that Arnel is now singing on. But the band is on fire, man. I'm excited about this record. And I believe we'll start releasing things after the New Year… It's been really pretty much either Jonathan [Cain, keyboards] working in his studio, sending us a track, and then we're overdubbing on it, or it's Narada [Michael Walden, drums] and I playing live together, which is working quite well — just drums and guitar. And then we send it to Randy [Jackson, bass] and to Jon, and then have Arnel on it. So, it's coming together, man. For being a virtual record, it sounds amazing."
Neal also talked about JOURNEY's recent lineup changes, with bassist Ross Valory and drummer Steve Smith having been replaced by Jackson and Walden, respectively. In early March, Schon and Cain filed a lawsuit against Valory and Smith, who have been members of JOURNEY on and off since the band formed in 1973, claiming the two attempted a "coup" in order to gain control of the JOURNEY trademark.
Asked if the legal issues with Valory and Smith have been resolved, Schon told "Trunk Nation With Eddie Trunk": "It's not resolved, and we're trying to figure it out. I can't really talk much about it, like last time, but we put a more-than-generous deal on the table for them to take and accept, or not. If they don't accept, then we're going to court. And I feel very solid about our case. So that's where it's at. I'm willing to take it to the mat, all the way, for something that I've worked my whole life on.
"The way things went down was really not that kosher," he continued. "I mean, what should have happened, rather than them trying to take over at that point, was to call us up and say, 'Hey, let's sit down and talk about this.' Instead it went a different way. And both myself and Jonathan didn't appreciate it."
The new JOURNEY lineup performed a socially distanced version of "Don't Stop Believin'" for UNICEF USA's virtual event "UNICEF We Won't Stop", which aired in May on MSNBC.
JOURNEY was supposed to launch a North American tour with THE PRETENDERS in May, but canceled the trek amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Last month, Pineda released a song called "This Christmas - A Beacon Of Hope" to kick off the Christmas season.