Music review by Luchae Williams
American singing sensation, Riley Clemmons, released her self-titled debut album on August 4 2018. The 18-year old Christian-pop crooner was discovered at a school pageant in Nashville at the tender age of 13, but chose to continue with her schooling, while writing songs and honing her craft. And now, five years later, the songstress is newly signed to independent label, Maxx Recordings, with a debut video raking in more than 16 million views on Youtube earlier this year.
The album’s debut single, Broken Prayers, was released in December 2017 and peaked at No 17 on the Hot Christian Songs chart. In a behind-the-song story posted on Youtube, Riley explains that the song came from a space of deep brokenness. “The song came from a place of truly finding peace in the fact that God takes you at your most broken, at your lowest place and at your roughest. And not only does He take you there, but He delights in it. And He genuinely loves you in that place.” The album features a piano version of the song as well, which nicely shows off Riley’s impressive vocal range and rich tone.
Second single, Better For It, has become a firm favourite and is already in regular rotation on Radio Disney. The track is a catchy, pop-infused faith song that basically speaks about God turning your ashes into beauty for your good and His glory. This one really had me hooked from the get go! It has a jivey hook and a fun element to it, which really makes it memorable.
This fresh-faced singer has received quite a lot of attention on Youtube. Her third music video, for the song Hold On, accumulated more than half a million views in less than two weeks. The song is definitely more of a contemporary dance track, aimed at a younger audience.
I was instantly drawn to ballad, Broke. It best highlights the singer’s smokey, textured vocal and I love the soulful, almost sultry sound of the song. The melody is really beautiful and the message behind the song is quite powerful. She sings: “With you/I don’t need to hide/that I’m a little broke inside/you love me when I’m broke inside.” This is a must listen!
Another ballad that really moved me was the piano driven Drop Everything. The song is both skilfully written and composed and Riley adds just the right amount of drama and depth, vocally. The song speaks about quietening external voices, to hear from God. Riley sings: “I’ve been talking too much/Now I’m listening.”
Other songs worth noting include the EDM-infused Running After You that speaks about chasing after God. You First is a funky, soul-filled ode to God, that says: “I love how You love me/At my best and worst/…I’ve got scars/But you call them beautiful…”
With a strong start, Riley Clemmons’ introduction to the Christian music arena is definitely one to take note of. Well-written songs that feature incredible vocal performances and really fun, catchy compositions are what you can expect from this offering. If Christian-pop is your scene, you should definitely give this one a go. If not, her ballads are worth a listen! I am looking forward to hearing more music from this songstress.