Riley Green Reveals the Biggest Obstacle to His Songwriting

by Liz Holland

Riley Duckman (also known as Riley Green) shared a sweet video on Instagram late Monday night. The singer joked that “Everytime I sit down to write a song I end up just playing old sad country songs for hours instead.”

Green peacefully strummed through Doug Stone’s “I’d Be Better Off (In a Pine Box) which earned him plenty of praise in the comments. Sharing his smooth voice with his followers, he sang out the heartbreaking tune about seeing your ex-lover with someone new for the first time. He cycled through the chorus a few times in the video, really focusing in on the emotion in the track. 

“I’d be better off in a pine box

On a slow train back to Georgia

Or in the grey walls of a prison doing time

I think I’d rather die

And go to hell and face the devil

Than to lie here with you and him together on my mind”

While Green may get distracted in his songwriting process, the performer has certainly written some great ones. The way that Green approaches his songwriting involves writing from the heart rather than writing for the charts, and that’s what truly makes it so special. In an interview with AJC in December, the up-and-coming artist explained that his formula to success is to stick to what he knows. 

Riley Green is Sticking to One Style For Now

“I think it’s really hard for a new artist to go from ‘Hey, I know this song, but I don’t know who sings it’ into ‘Oh, and that’s a Riley Green song.’” Green explained in the phone interview. “I think that probably comes from maybe too much bouncing (around stylistically) with your first few singles.”

The singer explained that these days, much more people have access to the tools they need to make music. As a result, streaming services are more saturated with new music and there’s much more competition than there was “ten years ago.” 

“Now that you have so much music, this overflow of music, you’ve got to find a way to stand out, and I think that’s kind of by having your own sound.”

Having his own sound is certainly working out well for Green so far. In fact, one of the fan favorites from Green’s catalog is a track that referenced the very intimate and specific personal struggle of coping with an Alzheimer’s diagnosis in his family. “Numbers on the Cars” touched so many of Green’s listeners. 

“At that time, I didn’t put a whole lot of thought into songwriting, because I was writing just for myself,” Green told Holler. “I never thought I’d have a record deal and having a song on the radio was never a goal of mine. I didn’t write towards anything, I just wrote what I was thinking.”

The Alabama born singer’s methods are certainly propelling his career forward. You can catch Riley Green supporting Luke Bryan this fall on the “Raised Up Right” tour.