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Riley Clemmons - We Choose Her Over and Over Again

Riley Clemmons

We Choose Her Over and Over Again

By Isa Barnett

Riley Clemmons is a Christian pop star and singer/songwriter who was discovered at the age of 13. Now at just 20, Clemmons has grown up within the Nashville music scene and Nashville is the kind of scene that begs for her type of talent. She makes music from her heart that represents her thoughts, her questions, and of course her spirituality.

While home during quarantine, Riley has directed her newest video “Over and Over.” This latest single is an upbeat pop/country song. The artist shared that she took “...home video footage, from when I was a little girl, and home video footage of my family in social isolation together.” The quarantine has no doubt been difficult for everyone in their own ways. Riley has been fortunate enough to be with her family, “just trying to make the best out of a situation that can seem entirely dark.”

After landing a record deal with Capital CMG, Clemmons released her debut album in 2018. Since then she’s scored over 11 million streams on Spotify for her song “Fighting for Me.” She is an artist not to be missed. On YouTube, her “Fighting for Me” video has stretched to 6.2 million streams. Her Instagram following has over 52K, while her YouTube has over 102K subscribers.

The dedication to this artist's music cannot be messed with. Riley’s latest EP “Over and Over” is now getting an upgrade with an exciting collab with American Idol’s country music star Lauren Aliana. The two singers have created a beautiful masterpiece that has embellished both of their voices. Riley said in reference to Lauren Alaina, “...she just brought something so powerful and emotional to this song.” The release on May 15th, 2020 is a much-anticipated event.

Thanks for being here today! Tell us about yourself as an artist…

I’m 20 years old. When I was in eighth grade, I was singing in a choir concert, at 12 years old. That's where I met my manager accidentally. He was there to see his daughter he ended up introducing himself to me. A month later I was in his office meeting with him, a month after that I was taking writing sessions in Nashville, at the age of 13. I signed my first publishing deal when I was 15 and signed with Capitol CMG when I was 16. I’ve just been releasing music and writing since, which has been amazing. And of course, playing shows. I write music about what's going on in life. I just try to be as vulnerable as possible. That's always been the priority and the goal and what’s been very natural. So, yeah that’s what I’m doing! Besides morning and meeting people and all that good stuff. Hopefully, that will resume soon as possible.

How has your experience developing under the spotlight been? It must have been different growing up so fast within the industry.

It was a very unique experience within itself. In so many ways high school was very normal, but also very abnormal at the same time. I would wake up in the morning and go to school. I got permission to leave during the last period of the day, which is my study hall, so it was all good! Then I’d go to the studio immediately after. My parents would drop me off until I could drive myself. Of course, it was this juxtaposition of being a high school student during the day and then you go work on a career in the afternoon writing. But the music was so honest because it was coming from a place of real life, what I was experiencing. It’s still the same way now you know. I still write songs that I need to hear, and that changes through different phases of life. It does grow you up very quickly.

Faith is a key part of your music, from the start of your career. How has that journey been combining the two and maintaining that strong sense of faith you have…?

I do write music about the things that are important to me. Growing up in a Christian household from the time I was a little girl, you have these doctrines that are so ingrained. You also begin to ask questions. You want faith to be something you're choosing for yourself. I started writing music about those questions. It was a natural tendency I have. As I’ve grown and as I’ve learned it’s changed what I have to say. It’s different, but the core of it has always been grace and love and hope and kindness and light. That will always be the priority. Everything I say I want it to come from that place.

What inspires you? Where has your influence come from?

Wow! So many different influences. I grew up in a Southern gospel church, where people sang because they were passionate. There was this fire within the music that I was immediately drawn towards. Listening to artists like Kirk Franklin, CeCe Winans, the classic Gaither and The Isaacs, Aretha Franklin, and Whitney Houston. All the singers that cross over into gospel music. It was immediately so invigorating to me. They were early influences; power, rich lyrics, just the passion was so undeniable. That was a big inspiration. I knew that I wanted to create music with that passion that spoke from my perspective.

So obviously Social distancing is our reality right now, what have you been doing in quarantine? How have you been doing? Have you been able to write new music?

Absolutely. It’s so crazy watching everybody's jobs, no matter what they are. If you're a student, if you're in an office job, whatever it is, life has changed in some capacity. In the music industry tours have gotten canceled and writing sessions in person have been put on hold. Fortunately, technology is really amazing. We’ve been able to do Zoom sessions and Zoom writes. I’ve been writing a lot of new music during this time. Trying to try new things. I’ve been pushed to try new things, filming a music video at home. Just trying to make the best out of a situation that can seem entirely dark. I’ve been with my family and we've been spending some good time together. That's also been really nice.

You said you're filming a music video at home?

Yeah! Okay so for my last single “Over and Over” we were planning on filming the music video just as everything was starting to shut down. Obviously, the shoot got cancelled, which was so disappointing, but we wanted to put out content. We wanted the fans to have something to go with that song. So, we took home video footage from when I was a little girl, and home video footage of my family in social isolation together. Cooking, and at the house, all that good stuff. As well as behind the scenes footage from tour and past shoots we had done. I had the opportunity to direct it, which was just really cool. I collaborated with my team. We were able to put out content that we were really proud of, which was exciting! Again, making the best out of a situation, pushing myself to do something that I normally wouldn't.

Of course, as the world begins to heal and people come out of quarantine, what part do you think artists need to play in this process?

As an artist who is putting out music, and able to have a platform to share lyrics and melodies and ideas, it’s so important to be honest and vulnerable. To not shut out the truth. Whether that is sorrow and pain, or the joy of healing. How beautiful is that? Whatever it is, as an artist it's so important to show up and be honest. To have hope and the healing power of the music, which is really exciting.

Your release and collaboration with Lauren Aliana will be out May 15th, 2020. Congrats! Tell us about how that experience has been....

Thank you! Oh, my goodness, so exciting! I’ve loved Lauren’s music for a long time. She is so incredibly talented. I remember getting the call from my manager and he presented this idea of seeing if Lauren Aliana would be interested and collaborating on “Over and Over.” Immediately I was like 100% yes! Let’s reach out! I was sold right away. Fortunately, she was super into the idea, which was exciting and awesome. She ended up cutting the vocal and she absolutely crushed it! She just brought something so powerful and emotional to this song. It was really cool to hear through her vocals. She's also the kindest and has the realest feel, which is amazing too.

Did you ever think as a 13-year-old girl you would be working with some of country music’s biggest names?

No. Of course it’s a dream, but when things like that happen it’s one of those situations where words don’t really touch it. It’s amazing. It's really cool.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

I want to keep making music and playing and touring. Doing a lot of what I’m doing now but continuing to do something new and more. Writing music that I’m proud of. Playing it for people, that's the best part. That's the sweetest thing. I’m excited to continue to do that.

We thank you for your time today. Do you have a message you’d like to leave for all your fans and supporters?

Right now, something that I need to hear more so than ever and something the world is craving is the reminder that you are not alone, even in the middle of times that seem impossible and dark and lonely. There is hope and light [in] taking it one day at a time. That is enough. Your best is enough, and you are loved. Those are the important things.

Copyright ©2020 All rights reserved. Posted: May 22, 2020.

Photos ©2020. Courtesy of Crowd Surf. All rights reserved.

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