Every Word is a Promise You Keep: An Interview with Riley Clemmons


Riley Clemmons may be just 19 years old, but she has a solid grasp on two important aspects of her music career: a reliable support system and how to release honest music.

The Nashville native was constantly around music and by the time she was 16, she had signed a publishing and record deal with Capitol Records. From the very beginning of her career, she’s had defining moments that really shaped her into the songwriter she is today.

“Learning to write as a really young person, it was this process of figuring out what my voice was and figuring out what it meant to be a young woman who was a writer and wanting to put something real on the line,” she said.

There was a moment during one of her earlier songwriting sessions that really clicked for her in terms of making sure she stayed honest in her music. It involved a huge argument with her mother, a tearful walk into the studio and 30 minutes of getting it all out. The outcome was one of her first singles, “I’ll Stay”. To this day, it’s still one of her favorites.

Like other musicians, it’s not always easy for Clemmons to share raw, honest thoughts in the form of a song. It goes back to that support system, however, that makes a huge difference when it comes to keeping things honest.

“I think it all comes down to making the best music that you know how to make that feels genuine and real and fresh,” she said. “I'm learning more and more every day; it's about the team that's around you and the people that believe in you and that's made a massive difference in having that extra level of confidence.”

Her most recent single, “Fighting For Me”, also comes from a stand-out writing session. Clemmons remembers sitting in the studio with co-writers and having a discussion on division among humanity versus desire of the heart. Through that conversation came an anthem that was both something she really needed to hear and something others need to hear.

“It's so easy to walk into a room and only see differences,” she said. “We really wanted to focus on what unites people and what brings people together more than tear us apart. It comes down to this desire that's within all people and wanting to be loved unconditionally.”

With honesty comes recognition, and Riley Clemmons has already made a name for herself within the music industry and amongst her peers. Her new Christmas album and winter tour dates are just a few of the things up her sleeve for the next year, and what’s to come is worth the wait.