Desmond Pringle’s golden tenor can be heard on some of the finest recordings in recent times. That’s him backing up R. Kelly on “I Believe I Can Fly.” Over the years, he’s shadowed Aretha Franklin, Marvin Sapp and Yolanda Adams on CD, and led “The Place” on Shekinah Glory Ministry’s RIAA certified gold CD, “Live.” He’s composed hits for others and also enjoyed hits of his own ranging from the worship ballad “You Are God” to the inspiring Adult R&B hit, “Arms Wide Open.” Now, after a six-year recording hiatus, Pringle is back on the scene with the uplifting tune, “Can’t Even Imagine,” the first radio single from his first and forthcoming Kingdom Records debut CD, “Fidelity.”
The soul-stirring “Can’t Even Imagine” is a fresh addition to the current praise and worship music trend. “Usually songs come to me with lyrics and melodies as if someone is singing on the inside of me,” Pringle says when asked how the song was conceived. “I remember being on a plane in route to a ministry engagement with my wife, Tanya, and I was asking the Lord to give me a song that would articulate authentic worship. `Can’t Even Imagine’ was what was birthed. Those seven simple words – I can’t even imagine my life without you – express how I really feel about God.”
Pringle’s passion for God has extended to him becoming the pastor of The Watered Garden Fellowship that started as a home Bible study and has since grown into a Church in Inglewood, CA. “Honestly, it wasn’t something that I pursued but rather something I followed,” he explains. “I’ve always been a lover of the Word, I’ve never been the musician/ singer that exits stage left when the preacher gets up to preach. I’ve been aware of the calling to preach since as early as the fifth grade. But I didn’t have pastoral pursuits. I was content to sing but God had another plan and he began to make it clearer in 2008 when our living room Bible study organically grew into a church.”
The seed of Pringle’s new avocation was planted in Charleston, SC where he was reared in the Pentecostal denomination. After high school graduation, he enrolled as a marketing major at Winthrop University in Rockhill, SC. However, he took a break from school when he won the role of Clarence in the national touring company of the gospel musical, “A Good Man is Hard to Find” in 1992. The success of the play brought Pringle starring roles in other stage musicals such as “Only The Strong”, “Paint The White House Black” and a brief recording deal with A&M Records.
By 1993, Pringle had moved to Chicago where he began to write songs for Bishop T. D. Jakes, Rev. Clay Evans and others. When he wasn’t writing songs, Pringle was singing background vocals on recordings by R. Kelly, Twinkie Clark, etc. In 1999 he didn’t wait to be offered a recording contract. He financed his own CD project, “Psalms, Hymns and Spiritual Songs” that created a door for him into gospel radio and created a circuit for him in the church world. Not long after, Tommy Boy Records’ gospel division came a courting and released his 2001 CD “Loyalty” that spawned an urban-flavored rendition of Creed’s “With Arms Wide Open.” The song climbed to the Top 30 of the Gavin Urban AC singles chart and the CD reached #9 on the Billboard gospel album sales chart.
After Tommy Boy officially closed in 2002, Pringle wrote a new chapter in his career as an A&R executive with Word Records where he signed “American Idol” contestant George Huff, gospel legend Karen Clark Sheard and the duo of Ted & Sheri. Pringle also executive produced Shirley Caesar’s duets CD that featured Patti LaBelle, Gladys Knight, Faith Evans, Kirk Franklin, among others. One of the highlights for Pringle was getting to record a track on the CD with Caesar himself, “Just A Closer Walk With Thee.” He recalls, “One day, Pastor Caesar said, Dez, why don’t you sing with me?’ I was floored that she would offer me that opportunity alongside all of these legends she has on her project but that’s how it came about. She asked me and I wasn’t about to turn her down [laughs].” The CD was a Top Ten smash and earned a Grammy Award nomination in the category of Best Traditional Soul Gospel album.
Pringle eventually left Word and returned with his own CD, “Be Still”, in 2006 and continued to be in demand as a worship minstrel without a radio presence. He wrote and performed the radio smash “High Praise” that propelled Bishop Paul S. Morton’s “Let It Rain” CD to #1 on the Billboard gospel album sales chart and his tune “Holiness is Right” with the Born Again Church Choir” won a Dove Award.
In his time away from the spotlight, Pringle has continued writing songs and honing his craft that set the stage for the new CD. “It’s a studio project with 80% of it being recorded in Charlotte, NC,” he adds. “The producer Cedric Thompson is a Grammy Award winning producer who’s worked with a who’s who in the gospel world. This CD is celebration of and a testament to the faithfulness of God. The unique quality of this CD is that it’s timely and timeless at the same time. Not only are the songs messages that are pertinent and relevant to the times in which we live. I would also say that the greatest distinction between this project and the others was that I wasn’t on any deadline and didn’t have time constraints. I was able to take my time, make changes, adjustments, and redo’s as I deemed necessary without the pressure of a release date.”
From the soothing tune “Unmerited Favor” to the up-tempo jam, “Until it Rains,” Pringle has put a lot of effort into the lyrics of the songs. “If you look at the CD magazine in my car, most of it consists of preaching and teaching sermons,” he explains. “For me, content is king. Being substantive and not recycling lyrics is of the utmost importance to me. My greatest inspirations come from the word of God and I want the songs to always reflect that this is what the Bible says and not what Desmond says.”
In keeping with that thought, Pringle reaffirms that the core of this “Fidelity” CD is God’s loyalty and commitment to his children. “Regardless of life’s challenges and changes God is faithful,” he says. “And that the conditions of the world do not affect His word. I have confidence in His competence to be God in our lives no matter what and I want the listener to receive that message from this CD.”