Plants, diabetes, and record deals: sophomore Riley Vierchilling


Emily Wyrwa

In fifth grade, Riley Vierschilling was sitting on her bedroom floor doing math homework, when she abruptly put down her pencil and made a choice that would change her life. 
She started writing a song; a song about plants, no less. 
Five years later, Vierschilling’s music has evolved past succulents; she currently aspires to sign to a record label and is on track to release an album in the near future. 
“I write a lot about the journey that I’ve gone through to who I am now,” Vierschilling said. “It’s really funny to go back and look at my music, and the way that it grows with my age, like the older I get, the more mature my music is, the better it gets.” 
Vierschilling’s affinity for plants may not have dwindled. As a sophomore, artificial vines drape from her former childhood walls, and the room still features quite a few ferns. Nowadays, though, her favorite spot in her room is her “music center,” complete with a songwriter’s starter kit: a keyboard, an acoustic guitar, an electric guitar and a ukulele. She posts CDs above her keyboard, which sits adjacent to a window, where the lights of inspiration seem to fly through. 
“My inspiration comes from everywhere so I could be out at the mall and I will come back home and I will sit there for three hours writing a song,” Vierschilling said. 
These days, Vierschilling makes good use of the Apple Notes app–she maintains a folder in the often-neglected app, which is home to all 143 tunes she has written. Yes, down to the fifth-grade plant song. 
She not only channels her own life experience into her music, but stories her friends and family often weave their way into the songwriting side of her brain.
My friends and my family are a part of me,” she said. “And so, when they’re telling me these stories, I always ask them ‘can I write a song about this?’ and they’re like, ‘sure, why not?’ It’s always great to see their reactions about it because they’re like, oh wow like this is a real song. And I just love to put their emotions into something that they can enjoy, especially if it’s a bad situation that they were in and then I can put it into something that they will appreciate.”


Vierschilling is a type one diabetic, which presents its own unique challenges. 
“It makes me unable to do certain things like during class, I get really dizzy when I’m low [on blood sugar], so it’s harder to focus,” Vierschilling said.
Vierschilling now hopes to inspire change so that other young diabetics can have access to the resources they need. 
This passion is what inspired her Instagram account @cake_batter_and_roll_bakery, where she sells gluten-free baked goods. For Halloween, Vierschilling is donating the proceeds from her sale to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF). She will be fundraising for Thanksgiving and the holiday season, as well. 
Over the years, Vierschilling has grown to embrace her unique path, and she now realizes that her disease may be a part of her, but it isn’t her defining quality.
“I wouldn’t change a thing,” Vierschilling said. “This is a part of me. This disease has made me who I am, which I think is really important to me because I used to think that I was just the diabetes girl, which I’m not. I am the diabetes girl, but I’m so much more than just that.”