My article today is specifically focused on Riley Quin, who I’ve had the privilege of interviewing! For those who are new to the Coil Community, I encourage you to read on to learn about whoshe is, as well as her future goals and plans revolving around her singing career, her blogging on Coil and her music on Cinnamon, which is all included in this interview!
There is always room to grow, always time to start new things and you’re never ever “starting over”, but simply “building on” to what you already have.
– Riley Q.
We all have hopes and dreams, and sometimes, we do get knocked down. This girl right here – shows us that you CAN achieve your goals, and that there IS hope when you believe, even through life’s struggles. She proves this to us on a daily basis through her articles and through her music!! Riley, “Let’s untangle our mind, and set it free…”.
Sandra: First things first, can you tell me a bit about yourself? (Who you are, what you do, your passions, family background…).
Riley: I’m Riley Q – musician, singer, songwriter, blogger, social media marketing and branding strategist and web developer. I have a lot of talents that I am proud of, but none of them have come easily. I graduated high school at 16 and took a “gap year”, this turned into 4 years and I have absolutely no plans to go to college, in my opinion, it’s not vital.
After a very traumatic stalking experience while working as an event planner and secretary at my home church in Michigan, I moved to Nashville, Tennessee. I was 18 and alone. I only knew one person in Tennessee and I didn’t have a job or a plan for one. God provided at the last minute, as He always does, and I was provided with the opportunity to do social media management for a group of women. I ran with that idea and ended up building an entire social media management and eventually web development business. Everything I know is self-taught and I am proud of what I’ve built.
It’s been difficult, but there’s nothing more motivating than a stack of impending bills and lonely nights. Soon after I moved to Nashville I met my husband Dustin. We met online, like every other self-respecting 21st century couple. From the day we met, we have talked every single day and within five months we were engaged and three months later married. He is absolutely the love of my life and my biggest cheerleader. God absolutely knew what He was doing when He sent me to Tennessee. He absolutely knew what He was doing when He created me with the ability to self-teach and innovate under stress.
And He abso-freakinglutely knew what He was doing when He paired me with my country boy! Since moving to Tennessee, although my life has been turned upside down, I am pursuing all of my passions full time. Although I do have other passions; baking, painting, photography, fashion and traveling- I am currently spending all of my time working on my marriage, growing in my faith and working my businesses!
Sandra: You are very involved with the platform Coil – can you share your thoughts about this relatively new platform and your hopes of where it will take you with your career?
Riley: Coil IS THE future, 100,000%. I see where we are at now as YouTube in 2006. If you aren’t in on it now, you’re going to wish one day you were. You see, Coil has the newest technology, all of the perks of a successful social platform and they’ve managed to (currently) keep all of the negative aspects of social media at bay. For instance, Instagram & Facebook are ridiculously annoying to use at this point because they have terrible algorithms, an annoying social sphere of Influencers who are dominating the algorithms because they cheated the system, MLM’rs sliding into everyone’s DM’s 24/7, ads EVERYWHERE and the lowest engagement rates we’ve seen since, well, before smart phones existed.
Now I’m not 100% sure what Coil is going to change but as of right now, the fact that we aren’t all thinking about how many comments we get, our engagement rates, knowing WHO is following us, and having the ability to directly message people, it’s refreshing.
Now eventually I think Coil should add a messaging ability and maybe comments, but as of right now I love it how it is. There’s less competition, the algorithms are set up to maintain a balance of power, if you’re using it strategically- you can tell how your content is doing based off of upvotes and adjust accordingly, you can actually grow even if you’re brand new and it’s 100% about the content that you’re creating and not about who you’re creating the content for, to win approval. Not to say that won’t change and I actually encourage people to get a solid brand and target market established, that’s why I created my Subscriber Only Branding Series – but for now it’s nice. I can say with great confidence that Coil is exactly what many people have been waiting for and I believe that the more that we as a community step outside of the community and share about our experiences with this technology and companies such as Coil and Cinnamon, that we will see these platforms take off.
For instance, as soon as I started sharing regularly about Coil & Cinnamon, I had 7+ people sign up for Coil & Cinnamon almost immediately. People want these platforms, it’s up to the early adopters to share about them. Again, I understand that can be difficult for some people, which is why I’m sharing my templates as free downloads for anybody who wants to share on their socials but doesn’t have the time/skill to create graphics and explain in a concise and coherent way. They’re available in my posts about sharing Coil or you can DM me for them!
Sandra: In your article “Married at 19: 3 Lessons I’ve Learned“, you wrote freely about your anxiety, depression, and life struggles. How did it make you feel when you wrote that particular article?
Riley: Ah yes, I was really proud of that article. I actually went in planning to simply talk about our love story, but as I unpacked it I really started to realize how much the underlying themes of my depression and anxiety played a part in our story. Like I said in my article, anxiety has always been something I’ve struggled with but depression has been a newer addition to my mental cocktail.
I know for some, talking about their trauma and struggles can feel paralyzing, but for me it truly helps me to heal. When I verbalize that something is off it helps me to compartmentalize it and deal with it one issue at a time. I know that writing about these topics helps to shed light on the topics and shut down the stigma that people who struggle with mental health are “crazy”, “attention-seeking” or “annoying”.
People often forget that mental health actually has to do with one’s HEALTH. I personally feel like the more we talk about it, the more we can understand one another and the more we can band together to help each other heal.
Sandra: What is your favourite thing about your musical career? What song do you feel resonates with your audience, and why?
Riley: It’s hard to choose just one! I love the fact that I get to work for myself, write music 24/7, collaborate with other incredibly talented musicians and that I get to help people re-write their stories!
I personally find myself writing about a lot of struggles and things that as humans we find ourselves naturally dealing with. “Stitched” was about dealing with trauma, specifically in the sense of sexual assault, stalking and the anxiety and depression that accompany it. I wrote “No Turning Round” about realizing that life is freaking hard and we make bad decisions, but regardless you have to keep moving and realize that you can’t turn around and change what’s happened. And if you don’t get up and move on, you’re gonna lose it from the inside out. My newest song that drops on November 1st, “B Ok” is about the struggles that I’ve had with social and mental anxiety, social media and trying to accept myself, regardless of how I’m feeling.
Like I said, because I’m writing about a lot of common struggles, I feel like each song resonates with my audience differently. I know a lot of people really connected with “Stitched” on a personal level because of how many men and women have experienced sexual assault, abuse, and trauma. Although this breaks my heart I was proud and honored to give them a voice and to help them in their journey of healing. I think that “B Ok” will be very impactful in a similar way, I’m excited to see how my fans like it!
Sandra: Where do you hope to see your music career going? What platform do you believe will help you the most to help achieve your goals? And why?
Riley: Oooo girl, in this house we dream big. Dustin and I are already planning our trips, what mission work we want to do and talking about my dream stadiums to fill!
But seriously, Dustin has really taught me to dream big and think outside of the box. Walking into the world of technology and XRP specifically, I’ve had to let all inhibitions about money go. God is good, He’s providing every step of the way and I believe that as we are good stewards with what He’s giving us now (time, money, opportunities) He will give us more and more opportunities! With that being said I will never put it all on one platform. If you want something you have to hustle hard for it. This means being everywhere and doing everything with high integrity and class.
I am on every social platform that I believe is worth my time and energy. I create content for Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Coil, Cinnamon, YouTube, Spotify, Apple Music and my website. I might eventually add TikTok and Snapchat when it becomes relevant for me, but for right now these have my highest ROI in mind!
Eventually my music (business) goal is to expand my business to artists, create safe havens for them to come and create, options for them to stay independent and be a part of changing technology. As for personally I plan to stay independent and self-fund my music projects.
Eventually I would love to play festivals and events that are worth my time, I don’t believe in touring just to tour. I want to always be the best steward of my time and resources so when I have an opportunity to play a show and it’s because I have fans to play to and not simply to make a few bucks, I’m down and ready to go!
I’ll let you in on a little secret though, my biggest unspoken dream is to one day be on Ellen. I don’t know why but I absolutely love her and for me that’s the pinnacle of having a platform! I love how she gives back and that is my #1 goal with my platform, to constantly be giving back.
That’s why I love to use my Coil platform to support new and small artists, give business and blogging advice to newcomers and I try and use my other platforms to highlight and encourage those who need it. We all need a cheerleader and just because you have influence does not ever make you “too good” to be a cheerleader for someone else!
Sandra: As The Mind, Untangled., where I hope to motivate and inspire people with my writing – I feel that you as a Singer/Songwriter are hoping to do the same. What would your advice be to those who are starting a new phase in their life? Do you have a song that could help someone push through their dark moments, and what would it be?
Riley: Girl, I love this question!I love how you seek to motivate and inspire, I absolutely believe you do. You stood out to me from your first article, “Staying Strong, even through the darkness…“!Like I said before, I absolutely hope to inspire and encourage others. To those of you who are just starting off, no matter your age, state of mind, circumstances, career path- there is always room to grow, always time to start new things and you’re never ever “starting over”, but simply “building on” to what you already have.
Even if you feel like you’re starting over by trying something outside of your wheelhouse, you’re simply adding on to the skillset you already have and to the lessons you’ve already learned. As humans we were never meant to just choose one path and follow that religiously for the rest of our lives. We get one life to live and we might as well do every single thing that we dream of doing! The key is to finding the sustainable routes that support the other dreams.
Before I got married, running a social media business was the sustainable dream that fueled my dream of getting married and doing music. Now it’s Coil and my business funding my life and my music career! Eventually my music career will be funding my other business ventures, the mission work me and my husband want to do, travel and any other dreams that come out of the woodwork between now and then.
My point is, find something you love to do and do it. If that doesn’t feel right anymore, choose something else. But don’t just give up everything, build onto that and add onto it. You can have both your dreams and financial security, you just have to be smart about it! As far as the song goes, I rely on a lot of worship music to get me through my darkest hours, so I’d say “You Say” by Lauren Daigle often reminds me of my worth. Secular wise I’d say that music to my specific situation or anything Lizzo always lightens the mood!
But seriously, I listen to my own music or play it to feel better. “Stitched” has helped me through a lot of rough times as has “B Ok”- the one that’s coming out in November. People laugh when I say that, but if you’re not making music that you love to listen to, what are you doing?!
Sandra: Who do you look up to? What inspires you to keep moving forward?
Riley: This is a hard question because it’s recently changed. I used to look up to a lot of people and take advice from a lot of people. Not so much anymore. Recently I’ve realized that the more I outsource my energy to other people for reflection, the dimmer my light becomes and the more I actually end up drained. This has left me simplifying my sources of inspiration to life giving individuals.
My favorite musician, currently, that I look up to is Lizzo. She gives me so much freaking confidence and she puts me in the BEST mood. My favorite Instagrammer right now is coffeewithrach because she pours the best truth and life into my heart, that girl is filled with the spirit! I love her!
I’d say ultimately though, I look up to the individuals in my life who have displayed humility, courage, kindness and who are learning right alongside me. People move me forward. People’s stories and how I impact them make me keep moving forward. When things get hard, Dustin keeps me moving forward. Our future children and grandchildren keeps me moving forward. The people that I can help with my future abundance keeps me moving forward.
Ultimately – Jesus keeps me moving forward. He gave me a specific mission and purpose and I’ve got to own that. I’ve been chosen and called to be a light in this world, to sing my heart out and to love on people fearlessly. If I don’t do that, imma be in big trouble! But seriously, whenever I feel like giving up and I feel myself losing motivation, if I ask & trust Him, God steps in and provides. He has never left me hanging.
Regardless of how broke I’ve been, how low I’ve been, how far I’ve wandered away, He always leads me back to the path that He’s created for me. I honestly don’t know where I’d be without Him because He has always provided everything I need RIGHT when I need it. Not a moment early and not a moment late. People sometimes ask me why I believe, but I simply tell them that I’ve seen too much not to. So what really moves me forward? The knowledge that when I do what God asks me to, great things happen.
Riley, thank you SO much for allowing me to interview you! You are such an inspiration to so many of us!!