Steve Pringle is a keyboardist, composer and producer. He’s recently been working with Michael Kiwanuka, touring and promoting his Mercury prize-winning record “KIWANUKA”, and has toured on stages and at festivals around the world as well as on numerous live TV and radio broadcasts. Other artists Steve has worked with include: Nick Mulvey, Jono McCleery, Nerina Pallot, Karima Francis, Rea Garvey, The Metropole Orchestra, The Outlook Orchestra, Andreya Triana. His recent composition work has included collaboration with documentary director Tom Dream on projects for Dazed/Gucci featuring Arlo Parks as well as for GQ Magazine’s documentary of Patrick Hutchinson, the recipient of their 2020 Humanitarian award.
Please could you tell us a little bit about yourself and the role of music in your life up until now?
Hi! My name is Steve and I am a musician based in Margate, Kent. I work as a keyboardist, composer, producer and teacher/mentor. Music has been a big part of my life since childhood – I was involved with music a lot through school years, studied jazz piano at Trinity College of Music, London, and since then have worked as a freelance musician, involving recording and touring work with various artists as well as composing and producing music. I also teach, including in recent years at the University of Southampton teaching pop/jazz piano/keyboards. Outside of my music work I’m also very interested in electronics (inspired partly by owning lots of old keyboards and audio gear!) and have a workshop where I repair/maintain/restore synths and audio equipment.
What/who inspired you to want to become a musician?
As a teenager I was really fortunate to have some inspirational music teachers and early mentors that helped me develop my interest in music. I remember being so excited when I would find a new album or artist that I liked, and couldn’t wait to try and work out how to play it. I loved being around music, whether it was watching a gig, listening to an album, playing on my own at home or in rehearsals with others, and it was probably a combination of all these things that kept me hooked and led to me doing my first gigs. Music is certainly not the most straightforward career path but it can be incredibly rewarding and I have met so many interesting and wonderful people from it.
Could you share with us a musical and/or life highlight? How did it make you feel?
I’ve been fortunate to be able to travel a lot through music, and for me this aspect would be a highlight in itself! There’s also so many musical highlights that come to mind where I’ve been to a gig/concert as part of the audience and been blown away – seeing McCoy Tyner at the Jazz Cafe in London in the early 2000s always comes to mind: I’d heard his music on records and then to see him live in a club environment and hear him making that huge sound in front of me was amazing. To be on the other side as a performer on stage and looking out into the audience is also a constant reminder of how music can affect people and its importance to people’s lives.
Could you say a few words about how music relates to mental health from your perspective?
I think music can be incredibly powerful in helping someone relate to their mental health and general emotional wellbeing. It can be a vehicle to help navigate and express difficult emotions, find meaning, help promote self-confidence, help relate to and connect with others, and so many more things besides.
What do you feel you can offer to a participant? What are your areas of special interest?!
I would hope to be able to offer my experiences as someone who has been involved with music for most of their life and has been working professionally in the field for 20 or so years in different capacities. I have always really enjoyed teaching/mentoring people and approach this with the ethos that everyone is an individual with their own interests, personalities and relationships to music.
Why is being part of Seed Sessions important to you?
The world can be a difficult and seemingly lonely place at times and organisations like Seed Sessions are so important to be able to offer support and guidance where it might be needed!