Stephen Ray “Steve” Perry (born January 22, 1949) is an American singer-songwriter, record producer, and musician, best known as the lead vocalist of the rock band Journey during their most commercially successful periods from 1977 to 1987 and 1995 to 1998. Perry had a successful solo career between the mid-1980s and mid-1990s.
Perry’s singing has garnered acclaim from prominent musical peers and publications; he has been described as “The Voice”, a moniker originally coined by friend and former chart peer Jon Bon Jovi. He resides in Del Mar, California.
Born in Hanford, California, Perry grew up interested in music, as his father, Raymond Pereira, was a vocalist and owner of radio station KNGS. On his twelfth birthday (January 22, 1961), his mother, Mary Quaresma, presented her son with a gold eighth note necklace, which he still wears for good luck. When Perry was 12 years old, he heard Sam Cooke‘s song “Cupid” on his mother’s car radio. This inspired Perry to become a singer.
The family moved to Lemoore, California during Perry’s teen years. He attended high school there, drumming in the marching band as well as in extracurricular bands. He attended College of the Sequoias, in Visalia, California, for a short time after graduation, where he took first tenor in the choir there. Perry’s mother encouraged his musical growth during this time.
In his early 20s, Perry moved to Sacramento to start a band with a 16-year-old future multi-platinum music producer, Scott Mathews, who co-wrote, played drums, guitar and sang. That band, Ice, wrote strong original material and were poised to ‘make it’ as they recorded during the day at the Record Plant studios in Los Angeles in 1972 while Stevie Wonder recorded his classic Talking Book LP by night. Upon returning to Sacramento, Ice disbanded as the band had no management, Mathews was stuck in high school and the recordings went virtually unheard. Perry ended up in Banta, California outside of Tracy, California, where he fronted the band Alien Project in his mid-twenties. He nearly gave up music when the bassist of that band, Richard Michaels, was killed in an automobile accident. Perry returned to Lemoore and decided not to continue his singing career, but at the urging of his mother, Perry answered a call from Walter “Herbie” Herbert, manager of the struggling San Francisco-based band, Journey.