South Carolina has a rich history in gospel music with roots going back to the days of slavery, and there are a plethora of talented singers in our beautiful state. We sat down and got to talk with gospel artist from North Charleston, AC Riley, the other day to discuss his path of following the Lord through song. Here is what went down with this stylish and talented young man.
SCMG – You grew up in the Church and your parents are both pastors. Did you also go to a religious school? Did you participate in choirs outside of the Church also?
AC – I was part of the choir in high school. There were also a couple of camps, Oasis and Space, where I did acting, singing, and Broadway type classes. There was even a bell chiming class! I was always involved with creative outlets both inside and outside the Church.
SCMG – What do you think defines “Gospel” music, and what influences do you believe created it? Tell us about the history of gospel.
AC – Gospel came from a struggle of faith. We know there was once a time where there was slavery, and slaves had songs that helped them be at peace. I believe the influence of gospel came from that. It evolved where even if we couldn’t see things were better, we knew they would get better. Gospel music is a way to worship God through song, especially during tough times.
SCMG – At what age did you realize that you were headed towards sharing the Will of God through music?
AC – I’ve always been a part of the Church, and He’s always been significant to me. I dabbled in R&B, but I realized vocally I wasn’t a complement to it. My music evolved and formed itself through the years into gospel. Even if I were to go into another genre, gospel would be my first love.
SCMG – Tell us about the Sounds of Worship and Intercession, your ministry groups.
AC – Sounds of Worship was a group that bled from my high school gospel choir. Intercession grew through a group of church members. Both groups would go into our communities for ministry, and they molded me for what I am pursuing now with leadership, independent qualities, and my sound. They made me who I am today.
SCMG – You’ve had the opportunity to work with popular gospel rappers and R&B artists over the years. Can you tell us about that?
AC – My church presented a concert with Sounds of Worship and rapper Da T.R.U.T.H. He encouraged both me personally and the group as a whole to strive toward what we believe God has put us in for. I also sang background for Kelly Price, Queen of R&B soul.
SCMG – Are you writing your own music? If so, how do you find inspiration for your songs?
AC – Yes, as a matter of fact, I’m working on developing my songwriting. I’m producing an album with featured artists, and we will be releasing it sometime later this year.
SCMG – That’s great! We are looking forward to hearing more about your upcoming work. We will wish you the very best! Thank you!
Keep up with AC Riley –
A lifetime of music addiction and appreciation has led Stephanie to her passion of live music photography and the entertainment industry. Having a particular interest in exceptional guitar work, she is best known for introducing her kids to Steve Vai’s and Yngwie Malmsteen’s talent in an effort to promote musical discovery to a new generation.