Country music sensation Oliver Anthony has claimed he’s turned down offers for as much as $8million after viral hit ‘Rich Men North of Richmond’ soared to No. 1 on Apple Music’s global charts.
The song, released in early August, is sitting at the top above stars including Taylor Swift, Doja Cat, Travis Scott, and fellow country singer Morgan Wallen.
Anthony addressed the speculation about who he is, why he performs and what he thinks led to his sudden rise in a Facebook post Thursday after he claimed to have gotten over 50,000 messages after the video took off.
‘I’m sitting in such a weird place in my life right now. I never wanted to be a full time musician, much less sit at the top of the iTunes charts,’ he wrote, saying he hoped that when he filmed the videos, they might hit 300,000 views.
‘I still don’t quite believe what has went on since we uploaded that. It’s just strange to me,’ Anthony wrote.
He then confessed to have gotten ‘blank stares’ from people in the music industry after having rejected the offers off $8million.
Virginia factory worker Oliver Anthony claims he’s turned down offers for as much as $8million after viral hit ‘ Rich Men North of Richmond ‘ soared to No. 1 on Apple Music’s global charts
‘I don’t want 6 tour buses, 15 tractor trailers and a jet. I don’t want to play stadium shows, I don’t want to be in the spotlight. I wrote the music I wrote because I was suffering with mental health and depression,’ he confessed.
Anthony feels the secret to his success is that his songs are ‘being sung by someone feeling the words in the very moment they were being sung. No editing, no agent, no bulls**t. Just some idiot and his guitar.’
He then went into his full biography, saying that he had ‘never taken the time to tell you who I actually am.’
‘My legal name is Christopher Anthony Lunsford. My grandfather was Oliver Anthony, and ‘Oliver Anthony Music’ is a dedication not only to him, but 1930’s Appalachia where he was born and raised. Dirt floors, seven kids, hard times,’ he wrote.
He said that everyone now knows him as Oliver but that friends and family still call him Chris but adds that ‘either is fine.’
Anthony claims he dropped out of high school in 2010 and got his GED at the age of 17.
He describes in detail the conditions he worked under that ended up inspiring his songs once he left school.
‘I worked multiple plant jobs in Western NC, my last being at the paper mill in McDowell county. I worked 3rd shift, 6 days a week for $14.50 an hour in a living hell. In 2013, I had a bad fall at work and fractured my skull.’
Anthony addressed the speculation about who he is, why he performs and what he thinks led to his sudden rise in a Facebook post Thursday after he claimed to have gotten over 50,000 messages after the video took off
He confessed to have gotten ‘blank stares’ from people in the music industry after having rejected the offers off $8million
Anthony moved back to Virginia, he says, and was unable to work again until six months after the injury.
In 2014, he started working in ‘outside sales’ in industrial manufacturing, which he says has taken him ‘all over Virginia and into the Carolinas.’
‘Ive spent all day, everyday, for the last 10 years hearing the same story. People are SO damn tired of being neglected, divided and manipulated.’
Of his living conditions, he says he lives on a $97,500 piece of farmland (which he claims to still owe $60,000 on) inside a 27-foot camper with a tarp on the roof that he bought for $750 on Craigslist.
He reiterates that his success is ‘nothing special’ to do with him to the point of self-deprecation.
‘I’m not a good musician, I’m not a very good person. I’ve spent the last 5 years struggling with mental health and using alcohol to drown it. I am sad to see the world in the state it’s in, with everyone fighting with each other. I have spent many nights feeling hopeless, that the greatest country on Earth is quickly fading away.’
He then calls for unity and a deviation from the same internet culture that has made him famous.
‘I HATE the way the Internet has divided all of us. The Internet is a parasite, that infects the minds of humans and has their way with them. Hours wasted, goals forgotten, loved ones sitting in houses with each other distracted all day by technology made by the hands of other poor souls in sweat shops in a foreign land.’
Anthony feels the secret to his success is that his songs are ‘being sung by someone feeling the words in the very moment they were being sung. No editing, no agent, no bulls**t. Just some idiot and his guitar’
He said that everyone now knows him as Oliver but that friends and family still call him Chris but adds that ‘either is fine’
He goes on to say that we should be fighting for ‘what is right’ and freedom of speech and that people should turn toward God.
‘Just like those once wandering in the desert, we have lost our way from God and have let false idols distract us and divide us. It’s a damn shame,’ he finishes his letter.
‘Rich Men North of Richmond’ has gained mass notoriety for its ‘bone-chilling’ portrayal of life for the ‘average man’ in the United States.
Lyrics include: ‘Lord, it’s a damn shame / What the world’s gotten to / For people like me and people like you / Wish I could just wake up and it not be true.’
The music video for the song, which includes Anthony strumming a guitar and singing soulfully to camera, has amassed more than 18 million views in a week.
The song, released in early August, is sitting at the top of the Apple Music charts
Anthony, who lives in Farmville – an hour outside of Richmond – has said the song is meant to share the struggles of the blue-collar worker.
‘The universal thing I see is no matter how much effort they put into whatever it is they’re doing, they can’t quite get ahead because the dollar’s not worth enough, they are being over-taxed,’ Anthony said.
‘I want to be a voice for those people. And not just them, but humans in general,’ the singer-songwriter explained of ‘Rich Men North of Richmond.’
‘As long as you’re above the dirt, you’ve got a fightin’ chance,’ he continued.
On Spotify, the song has captured nearly 6 million listens in just five days.
It is also currently being predicted as a contender to hit No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart come late August.
The tune has been adopted as the ‘working class anthem’ by many conservatives while some progressives have remained skeptical due to its lyrics.
The song touches on human trafficking of children, even alluding to late billionaire Jeffrey Epstein and his illicit activities involving minors.
‘I wish politicians looked out for minors and not just minors on an island,’ Anthony sings in the song, which is just over three minutes long.
The singer also touches on out-of-touch politicians, high taxes, and those who take advantage of the system by ‘milking welfare.’
‘Lord, we got folks in the street, ain’t got nothing to eat and the obese milking welfare,’ he sings. ‘Well God, if you’re 5-foot-3 and you’re 300 pounds, taxes ought not to pay for your bags of fudge rounds.’
Its message has been amplified by major voices including Fox News’ Laura Ingraham and popular podcast host Joe Rogan.
Oliver Anthony’s song beat out country singer Morgan Wallen (left) and Taylor Swift (right)
Reaction to the song has been instantaneous with the song climbing up the charts and millions around the world sharing how the song has touched them.
‘I’m a 40-year-old Iraq vet Marine. This one got my eyes a little soggy too… But I’m very proud of this young man for having the cahones to tell it like it is. Semper Fidelis Oliver,’ one person wrote on YouTube.
‘This is the first time a non-gospel song has brought tears to my eyes and left me speechless. This is beautifully written and so true,’ a woman shared.
‘I’m 75 years. I worked overtime for bullshit pay my entire life and I approve this message,’ another added.
‘I’ve been an iron worker for 17 years and broke is an understatement to my finances. This song is the ‘American dream,” wrote one person who resonated.
Outside of the U.S., supporters of the musician have weighed in across social media
‘Speaking from Ireland, this song is an emotional masterpiece. It genuinely moves me multiple times every single time I play it,’ one person wrote.
‘You speak of the majority of the 🌎 F**k the rich men north of Richmond.’
‘Just a guy from Greece here… Lifelong dream to move to the US one day. Some would say a song like this should only discourage me, but damn… I’ve always been inspired by its people, its true people, its heart and soul, and this man singing this song is a fine example,’ another commenter shared on YouTube.
‘This song isn’t just for the US, this song should bring all people together, at least all of those whose heart’s in the right place,’ the commenter continued.
Since going live, Anthony’s song has also been met with open arms from many in the music industry.
One man, Jason Howerton, said on Twitter that ‘legendary country producer’ John Rich has offered to pay for Anthony to record his debut album.
Howerton also claimed in a tweet that Rich will produce the album for the singer.
On Thursday, rapper Gucci Mane also showed interest in the country singer in a post on Instagram.
In a post, the ‘Black Beatles’ crooner told his followers that he would love to sign Anthony to his 1017 imprint.
‘Aye fam I need y’all help on this one I’m trying sign these guys as my first country artists to 1017!!!’ the rapper wrote.
Gucci Man shared a screenshot of the song on Apple Music and urged his 17 million followers to help him get in contact with the ‘Rich Men North of Richmond’ singer.
‘I need the info asap,’ he shared.
Since finding seemingly overnight success, Anthony has taken a step back briefly to cope with the newfound fame.
Clearly overwhelmed by the chart topping climb, Anthony posted on Facebook that he is ‘so thankful’ for the support and is working on new music and shows.
‘I’m working on getting gigs scheduled and will post a calendar when it’s available.’