BEHIND THE SONG WITH KEVIN DAVIS
#1073 - "Keep On Hoping" by Riley Clemmons
The breakout artist shares about the Biblical inspirations behind her hit single, "Keep On Hoping" from her sophomore album
 


BEHIND THE SONG WITH KEVIN DAVIS, #1073 -
Posted: June 10, 2021 | By: KevinDavis_NRT
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21 year-old Riley Clemmons' self-titled debut album, Riley Clemmons, includes the hit singles, "Broken Prayers" and "Better For It" and it was one of my Top 10 Albums of the Decade. Clemmons followed that up with her hit singles, "Fighting For Me," "Over and Over," "Healing" and her newest single, "Keep on Hoping." With comparisons to contemporaries ranging from Kelly Clarkson and Demi Lovato to Natalie Grant and Britt Nicole, Clemmons' seemingly effortless, rich, and pure vocal tone exhibits the passion and confidence of a seasoned artist. Riley's songwriting is real, honest, and vulnerable, and she is positive, determined, and confident. 

Her new album, Godsend, features an empowering theme of the Lord reigning in our hearts and minds in song after song and how we are reminded that the Lord's glory, His strength, is found in our weakness. The album gives listeners words to "Keep on Hoping" with declarations like, "There's hope for a better tomorrow/There's hope for joy over sorrow/Cause God's still good/And He's still got it all in control."

Riley's entire catalog really ministers to me and my family. Her songs are very upbeat and catchy and Riley is a great role model for girls. Her songs are loaded with positive grace-filled messages of hope. Her lyrics address the pressures of life and Riley understands that true happiness and her identity only comes from her relationship with God. I had the chance to speak with Riley about her catchy new single, "Keep on Hoping."

 

Please tell me the personal story behind this song.

When I entered the studio to write the track last year with Ethan Hulse and Tedd T., I remember feeling a heaviness that was weighing down, stemming from all the noise in my life. It was the fall and things were still not totally normal. I was overwhelmed, and I set out to write a song about quieting all the voices we hear–whether good or bad–so that we can listen to the voice of truth, the voice of God, the only voice that really matters. "Keep on Hoping" is a song about the expectation that things are going to get better–a message that's desperately needed in our culture right now. We need to seek God in the middle of chaos. I wrote the song mostly for myself and it's been amazing to see how people have connected with the message of the song.

Which Bible verses connect to the message of the song?

John 10:10 (ESV): "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly."

Romans 8:11 (VOICE): "If the Spirit of the One who resurrected Jesus from the dead lives inside of you, then you can be sure that He who raised Him will cast the light of life into your mortal bodies through the life-giving power of the Spirit residing in you."

Romans 8:28 (VOICE): "We are confident that God is able to orchestrate everything to work toward something good and beautiful when we love Him and accept His invitation to live according to His plan."

1 Peter 3:15 (NIV): "But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have."

2 Corinthians 12:9 (NKJV): "And He said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me."

Philippians 1:6 (NKJV): "Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ."

Philippians 4:6-7 (NIV): "Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."

Psalm 121 (NKJV): "I will lift up my eyes to the hills--From whence comes my help? My help comes from the LORD, Who made heaven and earth. He will not allow your foot to be moved; He who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, He who keeps Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep. The LORD is your keeper; the LORD is your shade at your right hand. The sun shall not strike you by day, nor the moon by night. The LORD shall preserve you from all evil; He shall preserve your soul. The LORD shall preserve you're going out and your coming in from this time forth, and even forevermore."

What is the takeaway message?

I knew that I wanted to write a song about hope; specifically, the hope that comes from God and what He promises. I wanted to write it as a reminder that there's a reason to keep on looking up, to keep heart, to keep on singing even in the hard days. There's a promise that God has got you. And I believe that's true. Life gets busy, and at times we forget to lift our eyes to our sustaining hope that only comes from God. Our feet will stay steady on the ground if He is the ground you are standing on. There's so much imagery there, and I love how imagery brings power and stories to our lives. My bible passage of last year that helped me write the entire album was John 10:10. The whole concept of how even in the middle of a global pandemic and how so much was taken away, God promises abundance. That was a big part of writing this song and this album.

Lyrics

The weight of the world
Is getting heavier now
Feels like it's far
Too much to carry around
And each and every little
Time that you fall
Starts looking like
The end of it all

Somewhere hidden in the noise
There's a truth
Someone to believe
And hang onto
In each and every little
Word that you hear
I pray that one thing
Would be so clear

With all those voices in your head
Just don't, don't ever forget
That God's still good
And He's still got it
All in control

Come on and keep on hoping
When the days get dark
Keep on singing
Don't you ever lose heart
Lift your eyes
The One who gave you life
Will give you strength
To keep on going
So keep on hoping
Keep on hoping

What if the miracle's
A moment away
What if the morning's
Just about to break
And all the innocence
You thought that you lost
Was there inside
Of you all along

Come on and keep on hoping
When the days get dark
Keep on singing
Don't you ever lose heart
Lift your eyes
The One who gave you life
Will give you strength
To keep on going
So keep on hoping
Come on and keep on hoping
You gotta keep on hoping

There's hope for a better tomorrow
There's hope for joy over sorrow
Cause God's still good
And He's still got it all in control

There's hope for
A world that can change
There's hope for
Love over hate
Cause God's still good
And He's still got it
All in control

There's hope for
A world that can change
There's hope for
Love over hate
Cause God's still good
And He's still got it
All in control

Come on and keep on hoping
When the days get dark
Keep on singing
Don't you ever lose heart
Lift your eyes
The One who gave you life
Will give you strength
To keep on going
So keep on hoping
Keep on hoping
Come on and keep on hoping
And know that still
His promise will never be broken

Come on and keep on hoping
Like your soul set free
In every moment
Every breath you breathe
Lift your eyes
You're gonna be alright
You've got the strength
To keep on going
So keep on hoping
Keep on hoping
Keep on hoping


Closing Thoughts

As His sons and daughters, we need to take God's love with us everywhere we go and know that His love goes with us.  I have spent time reflecting on and singing this song to God, and it always gives me comfort. God is speaking to us in His still small voice, and as believers, we need to take time to "be still and know that He is God." Are you allowing The Holy Spirit to work in your life? Are you spending time listening to Him? He'll make you free. God wants to hear from you. With everything going on in our world, we need the encouragement that God is with us and we're not alone. There is no day, no hour of the day, in which our Lord Jesus is not present.

As followers of Jesus, we know that we can trust God's Word. We are all a work in progress. Have faith and let God "work all things together for good." Spend time with God and let Him redeem and restore you. We are not at the end of our story. God's still writing our stories of redemption. God wants us to know that He's faithful to complete what's He's started in all of us who've put all our hope and trust in Jesus for our salvation.

All of us forget to let God be in control of our lives. Stress comes from not living in faith. Life is not about the plans that we make, but about God's plans. Let go and let God take control. Don't let "to do" lists get in the way of spending time with Him. 

Are we letting God be in control, or aren't we? Either He is in control or He isn't. There isn't any middle ground. Jesus gave His life for us. And we know that He believed in God's purpose. We, as believers, are eternally grateful that Jesus relied on God's will. This song reminds me that there is a reason for everything under heaven.
 
As His children, we can all rest in the knowledge that we can fully trust in God and lean not on our own understanding. We're all united in our struggles, in our spiritual warfare, and in our desire for truth and relationship. The Lord wants us to spend time with Him every day. "Keep on Hoping" is a great reminder to spend time reading His Word, The Holy Bible, and to have a relationship with Him in prayer.

A sincere desire for God to take our thoughts captive is found in this song such as the declaration, "With all those voices in your head/Just don't, don't ever forget/That God's still good and He's still got it all in control." Remember as you listen to this song that Jesus wants to give you Himself, so you can bask in His light of life and not walk in darkness.

God desperately wants to fill us with His light and His mercy to make us new. The Lord's glory, His strength, is found in our weakness. This song celebrates that truth. These lyrics are totally encouraging: "There's hope for/A world that can change/There's hope for/Love over hate/Cause God's still good/And He's still got it all in control."

"Keep on Hoping" is a reminder that we can overcome the hardships and there is a light at the end of the tunnel. God's love is never-ending, and He is our refuge and our strength. God's resurrection power from The Holy Spirit, that same power that defeated death and raised Jesus from the grave, is available to followers of Jesus. This song gives me more conviction to not feel worthless or afraid. With many areas in our lives, we also spend a lot of time worrying. We need to let that go and allow the Lord to be our Redeemer. If you are struggling with depression, please know with certainty these life-giving words: "Come on and keep on hoping/Like your soul set free/In every moment/Every breath you breathe/Lift your eyes/You're gonna be alright/You've got the strength/To keep on going/So, keep on hoping." Amen to that.

NRT lead contributor Kevin Davis is a longtime fan of Christian music, an avid music collector, and credits the message of Christian music for leading him to Christ. He lives in Pennsylvania with his wife and three daughters.

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