Steve Perry: A Journey through Music, Loss, and Rediscovery
The year 1949 marked the birth of a music legend in Hanford, California – Steve Perry. His musical journey began in 1970, but it was in 1977, four years after Journey’s formation, that he joined the band. By 1978, their album “Infinity” transformed not only Perry’s life but also the trajectory of the entire band. Journey, propelled into fame, went on to release some of their bestselling albums, solidifying their status as one of the world’s biggest bands.
The saga continued until 1987 when Journey entered a hiatus, only to reunite in 1995. However, in 1998, Steve Perry decided to part ways with the band for good. The question lingered: Why did the iconic singer leave Journey, and what did he embark upon during his hiatus until his return to music in 2018?
Breaking away from the norm, Steve Perry’s departure from Journey wasn’t driven by typical reasons like disputes, financial matters, or a solo career pursuit. Instead, he chose to step away because he felt a profound loss of passion for music and singing. In an interview with AXS TV in 2020, he revealed, “The passion for music had left me, I could not find the honest passion for singing, and because of that, I was stepping into some, dare I say ‘party behaviors,’ to augment my frustrations.”
The loss of his mother added to his emotional turmoil, pushing him to reconnect with his true self. Perry candidly shared, “I didn’t know where I was going. I didn’t know what I was going to do or where I was going to go. All I knew was that I couldn’t keep doing what I’m doing. I need to just stop because this is not going anywhere good.”
Entering a period of self-imposed exile, Perry became a recluse in his hometown, purchasing a Harley-Davidson motorcycle to explore a newfound passion. As he rode through the streets with his long hair trailing behind, Perry rediscovered forgotten aspects of his life and connected with his childhood, all while grappling with the loss of his mother.
The turning point came when he met Kellie Nash in 2011, a psychologist who would become his girlfriend. Their deep connection and love inspired Perry to return to music. In an interview with Good Morning America in 2018, Perry described their relationship as “more than love, it was inseparable.”
Tragically, Kellie battled breast cancer, leading to intense conversations about life and promises. Perry recounted her request in an interview with 106.7, “‘If something ever happens to me, make me a promise that you won’t go back into isolation.’ She asked him not to repeat the self-imposed isolation he had experienced before.
The promise made to Kellie became a catalyst for Perry’s return to the music scene. While Journey briefly reunited on stage for their Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction, Perry’s full solo return happened in 2018 with the release of “Traces,” his first solo album in 24 years. The album, inspired by the loss of Kellie, marked a poignant chapter in Perry’s musical resurgence.
Since then, Perry has continued his musical journey with an alternative version of “Traces” in 2020 and a Christmas album titled “The Season” in 2021. With each release, he not only honors his late girlfriend but also reaffirms his passion for music after a period of self-discovery and profound loss.