Devonte Riley reflects on his childhood with bullying, depression, and upcoming music projects.
We recently caught up with twenty-six-year-old Devonte Riley for a brief interview. Hailing from Miami, Florida, Devonte Riley is a multifaceted music artist, songwriter, producer, model, and actor with ambition and determination.
Being the youngest of four children, It was only a matter of time before a young Devonte assured his spot in the entertainment industry. Devonte is precisely what the R&B pop world needs at the moment. Furthermore, he has stated in his own words that he is ready to bring back the feel-good vibes of the 90’s R&B soul. In this interview, we get an exclusive story on his childhood and the adversities he faced with his peers.
Q: Devonte, we’d like to thank you for doing this interview with us today! Where did you grow up?
A: I grew up in an area in Miami-Dade County, Florida, called Miami Gardens. We used to be Carol City until the name was changed sometime in the early 2000s. I spent my early childhood there.
Q: Wow, what was that like?
A: I only spent a small part of my life in Miami Gardens. I left Florida at eleven, so my fondest memories are of me in elementary school, but that’s about it. Considering that the area was impoverished and most of the children I went to school with didn’t value education, it was hard for me to focus on school because I was bullied non-stop.
My correct grammar and enunciation drew so much negative attention that I didn’t speak at all, making the bullying worse. They teased me for being intelligent, so I misbehaved. I thought that I would fit in and that they would accept me, which as a result, affected my grades in school. They saw the light in my spirit that dimmed their own and did their best to make me feel inadequate. It was depressing.
Q: How did you overcome those feelings of inadequacy?
A: I was falling into the place of being a “people pleaser,” and that’s a prominent Pisces trait. If you do a little research on Pisces people, we are very much that way. It’s a blessing as well as a curse. I just wanted to distract them from the fact that I spoke so well so that I could fit in, but that wasn’t who I truly was. I got tired of being someone I wasn’t, so I returned to being myself. That was all I knew how to be. That was the best way for me to overcome those emotions.
Q: I understand that school can be rough. Have you ever thought about becoming an advocate?
A: Actually, I am a huge advocate for anti-bullying. I’ve been an advocate for a few years now. We create these great campaigns and programs for children and teens who face bullying. It’s wonderful! We’ve been able to visit schools and speak on the best practices to prevent bullying. It’s very interactive.
Q: Do any of the people that bullied you in school ever reach out to you on social media? And how do you react?
A: Yes! I’ve heard from a few, and they’ve felt remorseful about their actions. I understand that we were only kids at the time. We grow up and learn from our mistakes, but crazy enough, I thank them for what they’ve done to me in the past. I got them to understand that their behavior didn’t break my spirit. Their actions never made me bitter or held a grudge, but they made me a better person.
Q: As the year ends, have you set any goals for 2023?
A: To release this new music I’ve been holding onto for a while. I’m in the studio recording music as we speak. I’m a big perfectionist, and as my fellow Pisces, Erykah Badu, says, “I am sensitive about my s**t.” You all can expect new music in the first quarter of 2023, as well as some television projects as well. Keep your eyes peeled and your ears open!
Devonte, thank you for the interview! For more information on Devonte, visit the links below: