Joe Pringle tells City News what it’s like being a pastor’s kid, about life in Hollywood and how his work came to be featured in a Cate Blanchett film.
Joe Pringle, the musically-gifted youngest child of Phil and Chris Pringle, was back at City Harvest Church leading worship in January this year. But it’s clear that this pastor’s kid is on a “Crossover” mission himself, having sung on a song for Woody Allen’s Golden Globe-winning movie Blue Jasmine and collaborated with renowned Dutch DJ Tiesto on a dance track “Footprints (All Over The World)” which appears on Tiesto’s upcoming album. Since the last time City News spoke to him, Pringle has forgone his slicked back platinum ‘do and gone back to his brown roots.
How old were you when you first came to CHC?
Oh man, I was young, maybe like 15 or 16. I just remember how generous Pastor Kong and Sun were to our family, and something that’s really important to me is loyalty, not necessarily toward me, but to see it reflected toward our family. I just remember being overwhelmed by the generosity, love and acceptance from the people. It was absolutely cool.
The other week your very proud parents shared on stage that one of the songs you worked on was featured in the movie Blue Jasmine, which stars Cate Blanchett. Tell us how that came to be.
I do a fair bit of writing for a licensing company, and one of those songs got picked up for the Blue Jasmine soundtrack. The film came out in the Cannes Film Festival, and about five months later I was having dinner with the writers, and one of them leans over and goes, “Did you know about the Woody Allen movie, Blue Jasmine?” and I said, “No, what about it?” He says to me, “We have a song on it.” And that’s amazing, because Woody Allen’s one of my favorite artists and creators of all time … no matter how small it was, it’s just a nice thing for me to feel. I was very surprised, of course, and very happy.
Your work now brings you to Hollywood. What’s the best part and toughest part about life in Hollywood?
Who you spend your time with affects you greatly. Being around good people is highly important. The thing about LA is that it’s a very lonely city. A lot of people are very lonely, and they use people. They create relationships to use them as a bridge to their careers. It’s a city focused on having a dream come true, and people would do anything, anything, to get it. They don’t really find connections that develop into friendships, like good, strong friendships. Luckily for me, a lot of my friends moved over about the same time, including my brother and his wife, and so I think that’s the best part.
The hardest thing is … there’s always something else in LA. There’s always something else. That’s the tempting thing, I probably don’t need to elaborate …
So where do you go to church in LA?
We have two C3 churches: C3 North Hollywood, and C3 Silver Lake, which is where I go. It’s pastored by Jake Sweetman—he’s awesome. It’s going really well, for an area that’s regarded as the hippest city in America, the coolest community to live in, it’s growing really fast. We have a really cool congregation: we have married couples with small families coming in, it’s just a very accepting place. We stand with open arms, very non-judgmental, full of grace, full of love …
Do you get to serve in ministry?
Yea, quite regularly on the worship team, along with helping to set up chairs, pull the chairs down, set up the curtains, anything …
Do your parents worry about you? Do they call up and check on you?
No, I chat with them quite regularly, but I don’t think they have a huge cause to be concerned—we’ve gotten ourselves into too much trouble when we were younger (laughs). I think they trust us more now.
Tell us about your personal salvation.
I went through some lefts and rights, ups and downs when I was a teenager. I’d run out of hope, run out of faith, then came the sudden realization that doing life alone sucks. Tradition passes down the generation—because my father believed, so I believed, but to pass through that stage and come to a place where it turns into a personal choice, a personal experience … I think it was the feeling that it was a personal revelation to me, that was what made it real.
How has your understanding of Elohim God changed now that you’re channeling your creativity in a more secular context as opposed to a spiritual one?
God has no boundaries, He’s an endless being. I don’t think you can confine any part of Him within four walls—and I’m not saying that the Church confines Him. When the veil tore, you don’t have to go to the temple to experience God. It’s highly important to go to church and collectively worship, collectively be fed, but there’s also got to be an understanding that He’s found everywhere. So thematically, in songwriting, God exists pretty much in everything. So, there’s a huge allowance for me to write about anything (chuckles). In a way, it brings back something toward God—a lot of the songs I write have nothing to do with God, yet He exists in them.
What’s in store for you in 2014?
2014 is a big year. I signed as an artiste end of last year with a label, and we’ll be doing more work with Tiesto and various other artistes. Towards the end of this year we’ll have an album out, it’ll be released under the name Cruickshank—that’s my artiste name.
“Cruickshank” sounds like a name with a story behind it …
You know … I just wanted to have a new name. Cruickshank’s my mother’s maiden name. Her father passed away when she was three months old, so I’ve only seen him through photos and I thought he looked like one of the coolest guys I would have really loved to have known. I like it …
It has an air of mystery to it.
Yeah, and I sound violent, don’t I? (laughs) I sound like a crook!
Have you met Tiesto? What’s he like?
Yes! We’ve hung out a lot, he’s a super nice guy. He’s 45, I can’t believe it; he looks a lot younger. He works incredibly hard, always on the move. It’s funny but before working with him, I saw big billboards of Tiesto in Singapore down Orchard or Scotts Road , and it was on my way here again that I got the phone call to work with him. He’s big here in Singapore too, is it?
Yea, even non-trance fans know him so yeah, he’s pretty big.
What are the biggest struggles and privileges you have about being the son of a pastor?
Stereotypes, people expecting certain things of you. For me, you know, I’m kind of a pirate, so I’d rather rebel against stereotypes. Some people make you more holy or spiritual than other people, maybe, but you know, we’re all skin and bones. Some people come up and go, “Does your dad prophesy over you at home?” We share laughs, you know, have a meal … also, we have personal time with each other. I think some people wanna get close to Mom and Dad and so treat you in certain ways, so I think one of the great things is that you learn discernment pretty quick, especially as a young person who was around older people a lot. But there were a lot of interesting people, wise people I’ve met too, and that’s one of the best parts.
If you had a chance to have dinner with a character from the Bible, who will it be (and it cannot be God, Jesus or the Holy Spirit) and why?
I wouldn’t have chosen any of them anyway, I’d be too scared! (laughs) Ummm … I’m gonna be really predictable and say …
Don’t tell me it’s Queen Esther …
Oh Queen Esther, there you go! I will have dinner with Queen Esther. Why? Because she’s the most beautiful woman ever. Definitely not Leah. No, sorry, I’m just kidding… I think I’d like to have dinner with David. I like David. He’s human. He makes mistake after mistake, but his blemishes are what made him incredibly human. Yeah, I would definitely love to have a frosty brew and a big steak with him.