Christian contemporary singer Riley Clemmons says she has a "love/hate" relationship with social media.
The Fighting for Me artist dislikes the pain it can cause – the bullying, the name-calling. But she also enjoys the positive impact it can have on Christ.
Clemmons, 22, has 171,000 followers on TikTok and 113,000 on Instagram. Her TikTok videos – which include everything from spiritual insights to jokes about everyday life – have garnered 1.4 million likes.
Social media, she says, has "been such a source of anxiety and hurt and confusion for me and so many others."
"[But] that is why I'm so passionate about using social media as a platform for kindness and a platform for good and a platform for vulnerability," Clemmons told Christian Headlines. "And as Believers, I feel like that is really something that we can take a huge part in."
Clemmons says she tries to balance spontaneity with cautiousness with her posts.
"[It's] genuinely whatever is the most immediate," she said. "I try to post what's actually going on. So if we're backstage with the band, goofing off, that's what I will post. It's very natural. I try to make it very organic."
Clemmons' self-titled debut album entered the Billboard Heatseekers Albums Chart at No 13 in the last half of 2018, thanks in part to the 2017 hit single Broken Prayers, which has accumulated more than 30 million global streams.
But just as Clemmons' career was rising, the pandemic hit. She was on the road for Winter Jam in 2020 when she learned the popular tour was being halted.
"I remember getting the call that the show was canceled," Clemmons said. "Nobody really knew or understood what was happening. But we immediately came off the road, and then what ensued ensued."
Clemmons, though, grew in her faith during that time. She also released her sophomore album, Godsend. It includes the popular song Fighting for Me. It also includes For the Good, which reached the Top 5 on the Billboard Christian Airplay in May.
"It really inspired my record and what was to come," she said of the pandemic. "… The timing was tough. But through that, I really got to know and understand God on a deeper, more meaningful level. I mean, when the busyness aspect of life is taken away, it really forces you to think about what really matters."
The pandemic, she said, helped change her perspective on life's blessings, including the ability to tour and sing for a living.
"I understand that's such a privilege to be able to take away something good from that time, but it really was such a time of inspiration," she said. "… I'm so grateful to be back."
Photo courtesy: ©Jason Davis Photography K-LOVE Fan Awards
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.