Amidst a year where country icons such as Morgan Wallen and Jason Aldean have secured their positions atop popular music charts, Oliver Anthony emerges as the latest artist to embrace this trajectory. His single, “Rich Men North of Richmond,” achieves rapid success, aligning seamlessly with the prevailing trend.
Anthony’s unexpected hit, a polarizing protest song resonating predominantly among conservatives, stirs up debates due to its political insights. Surprisingly, it takes the prime spot on the latest Billboard Hot 100 chart. This remarkable success thrusts the relatively obscure Virginia artist into the limelight, leading to a multimillion-dollar proposition.
As Anthony grabs the music world’s focus, dive into all you must know about the country crooner and his impactful track.
How His Stage Name Honors His Grandfather
Under the legal identity of Christopher Anthony Lunsford, the artist goes by Anthony. In an August 17 Facebook post, he unveiled the story behind his musical alias, Oliver Anthony. This homage pays tribute to his grandfather and the era of 1930s Appalachia, resonating with his birthplace and upbringing. While maintaining “Chris” within his close circles, he extends warmth to fans addressing him by either name.
The Inspiring Journey of a High School Dropout
Back in 2010, at the age of 17, Anthony chose to leave high school but later obtained his GED. He ventured into various plant jobs across western North Carolina, and it was during a work shift in 2013 that he endured a skull fracture due to a fall. Following this incident, he made the decision to return to his hometown in Virginia.
In the lead-up to his recent musical breakthrough, Anthony had been employed as an industrial salesman, a role he took on since 2014.
On Facebook, Anthony bared his heart, confessing to a five-year battle with mental health. He turned to alcohol as solace. He questions his musical prowess and self-worth, deeming himself less-than-ideal.
The Virginia Resident Lives Frugally
Through a Facebook post, the Farmville, Virginia, resident disclosed being in possession of property carrying a $60,000 debt load. This confession was accompanied by the revelation of living arrangements—a camper roof covered by a Craigslist-acquired tarp. However, the narrative takes a positive turn with reports suggesting Anthony’s daily earnings stand at $40,000, potentially paving the way for a streamlined debt settlement.
Internet a Parasite
Despite the internet’s role in amplifying the reach of “Rich Men North of Richmond,” Anthony doesn’t shy away from acknowledging its detrimental consequences. With frankness, he labels the internet a parasite, infiltrating human minds and manipulating their thoughts. His Facebook post further laments the hours squandered, aspirations abandoned, and cherished relationships tainted by the technology’s pervasive influence, a creation birthed in the labor of distant hands toiling in foreign sweatshops.
His Unstoppable Rise on the Music Charts
“Rich Men North of Richmond” outshined Luke Combs’ rendition of “Fast Car” (originally by Tracy Chapman) and Wallen’s anthem “Last Night.” This historic achievement secured Anthony (also known as Oliver Anthony Music) the top spot on the Billboard Hot 100. Notably, Anthony is now the first artist to claim a No. 1 song without any prior chart history.
Anthony’s Phenomenal Journey on Streaming Services
As of August 23rd, “Rich Men” continues to dominate Apple Music’s charts as the most played track. Impressively, the song has garnered over 20 million streams on Spotify. Additionally, Anthony’s musical prowess shines through, with five of his other tracks also amassing a million or more streams.
The Musical Bond between Singer John Rich and Anthony
The resounding impact of Anthony’s hit has extended its reverberations to notable personalities, particularly those aligning with right-wing politics. Among them, John Rich, former Lonestar singer, has generously extended an offer to bankroll and oversee the production of Anthony’s forthcoming album. Noteworthy as well, Kari Lake, a prominent contender for the 2022 Arizona gubernatorial race, along with Marjorie Taylor Greene, a distinguished congresswoman hailing from Georgia, have vocally praised this melodious creation.
While “Rich Men” has captured considerable attention from conservatives, Anthony has openly expressed his political identity as center-leaning. In a recent YouTube video, he reflected on his childhood perceptions of conservative ideologies and his evolving understanding of political controversies associated with the left taking office. Interestingly, he discerns a common thread that seems to unite both sides in their overarching objectives.
Anthony’s Revelation – Stardom is Not the Endgame
Turning down an $8 million music deal tied to the triumph of “Rich Men,” Anthony remains resolute in his aversion to the spotlight. Clearly articulating his preferences, he distances himself from aspirations of lavish tours, big rigs, and even the apex of iTunes charts.
Anthony Drops a New Song that’s Already Buzzing
This Tuesday marked the release of Anthony’s latest video, featuring his fresh single, “I Want to Go Home.” Remarkably, the song had its genesis on TikTok back in March. Similar to the impactful narrative of “Rich Men,” this composition serves as an introspective exploration of issues resonating within the United States. Anthony’s poignant gaze encompasses the realms of mental well-being, the spectre of warfare, and the sprawling urban landscape. If you’re curious, the track awaits your ears on Spotify.