Oliver Anthony izvodi "The Rich Man North of Richmond".
Oliver Anthony's working-class anthem "Richmonds North of Richmond" became a country hit within days.
The song, which expresses the previously unknown singer's anger at working hard and paying taxes only to "waste 'his' life away", has garnered millions of views on social media in less than a week and gone viral on Twitter. He was at the top of the charts.Top 100 popis Apple Music SAD-aand the iTunes US Top 40 Country chart takes the throneNaslovnica Fast Car from Luke Combsand Jason Alden's controversial single"Try it in a small town."
anthonys single harI pray sportAlso because her lyrics refer to politicians, "fat" welfare recipients who "mine" the system, and "minors on the island." Famous conservatives have adopted the song, from US Rep. Marjorie Taylor Green to critics like Matt Walsh.
CNN reached out to Anthony via the email address he shared publicly, but has yet to hear back. Anthony, for his part, has yet to receive an interview from a major media outlet about the song. He did not comment on the fact that the song was mostly accepted by conservatives.
Instead, he thanked the millions of new fans who saw a reflection of themselves in the song's lyrics.
"I appreciate the compliments, but...I'm not a good musician,"says AnthonyIn a YouTube video posted Monday. "I know next to nothing about the guitar. My singing is fine. It's not success. It's you and your struggles in life. That's what makes it who it is."
Here's what we know about how Oliver Anthony went from self-proclaimed factory worker in Virginia to bona fide star in just over a week and how "Rich Man North of Richmond" became a sensational event for many right-wing listeners.
Oliver Anthony's rapid rise to stardom
Until last week, the Virginia musician, whose real name is Christopher Anthony Lunsford, used his cell phone to record himself singing songs like "Aint Gotta Dollar" and "Ive Got to Get Sober."
AnthonyexplainIn a recent YouTube video, he began writing his own songs in 2021 while struggling with drug addiction.
"Things obviously aren't good for a lot of people, and in a way I'm one of them ... even the things I care about don't matter anymore," he said. - I found my way in music.
At the end of January, according to Internet data, Anthony's YouTube channel had just over 350 subscribersfil, a digital library that archives web pages across time. According to the archives, Anthony's most watched video at the time was "Aint Gotta Dollar", a thing about trading your own pleasure and comfort for money, with 1,500 views.
Then, on August 8, the YouTube channel RadioWV (which records and shares outdoor performances by Appalachian musicians) posted a clip of Anthony singing "Rich Man North of Richmond," which he later said was his first. Play "with real musicians" for once. microphone. (CNN has contacted RadioWV and is awaiting a response.)
The day before the song was released online, AnthonydeltThe nine-and-a-half-minute video, shot in his car, introduces himself to potential fans he hopes will discover the song. (By Thursday morning, the video had more than 877,000 views).
"Rich Man North of Richmond" follows Anthony's time as a factory worker in western North Carolina, Anthony said in a video shared before the song was released online. The headline appeared to refer to politicians in Washington, D.C., who Anthony said "make life harder than it should be."
His refrain goes like this:
"Living in a new world/
These rich people north of Richmond/
God knows they all just want total control/
I wonder what you're thinking about I wonder what you're doing/
They think you don't know, but I know you do/
Because your dollar ain't shit and it's infinitely taxed/
"Because rich people north of Richmond."
The song also has explicit references to Jeffrey Epsteinlive the conventionThis comes after his death in connection with Epstein's alleged smuggling of girls and young women to his home in the US Virgin Islands. One sentence goes like this: "I want politicians to care about the miners / not just the minors on the island."
Anthony said he felt the need to speak out about human trafficking because he felt it was being "normalised".
Thanks to RadioWV for sharing this video on their websiteYoutubeiTik TokThe video had 20 million views as of Thursday. Anthony wrotekamenPosted on X (formerly known as Twitter) on August 10th. Thanks to those who have already found it and provided support. Since then, its popularity has grown even more with more than 25 million views.
His songs praised prominent conservative figures
The song has been widely praised in recent days by far-right politicians, including a former Arizona gubernatorial candidateCary l.i rep.Marjorie Taylor Greeni Lauren Bobert,CalledIt is "the anthem of our time". It has also received rave reviews from country stars such asTravis Treatijohn rigMonopoly.
conservative media personality jason howertonexplainHe offered to pay to make Anthony's record and Rich agreed to make it. (A representative for Rich told CNN on Wednesday that there is "not much to report" about the Anthony-Rich partnership. CNN has reached out to Howerton and is awaiting a response.)
Anthony, meanwhile, said in a video released the day before the RadioWV show was uploaded that he is "absolutely political in the center" and critical of leaders on both the left and the right.
Screenshot from Jason Aldean's "Try That In A Small Town" music video. Anthony's songs have been compared to Aldine's for their country perspective and popularity among conservatives.
The singer parlayed his online success intolive performanceSunday in Currituck, North Carolina, hundreds attended, some of whom waited hours after the show to see him.
says Anthonyin a post on FacebookOn Thursday, he "never envisioned being a full-time musician" and was "in such a weird place in (his) life right now."
While he didn't mention his song's rise among conservatives, he decried the "internet that divides us all" at the end of his Facebook post, which included comments on his previous work and comments on his newfound fame.
"Freedom of speech is a precious gift," he wrote. "Don't let them take it from you."
In his speech, Anthony thanks his millions of new listenersvideoshared on Monday, asking what they can do to "keep that energy up" even after "Oliver Anthony is long gone and forgotten."
"This country used to have such a strong sense of community and you can still see it in small-town America, but even there it's disappearing," he said in his latest video. "I'm not Dr. Phil, but I just thought it would be nice ... to use it to help other people in your life - maybe people who are different than you."
Country music has long been dominated by songs about the working class, including welfare recipients
Anthony's song is the latest in a long line of hymns addressing the challenges of working America. Since the genre's inception, country musicians have written songs for working-class audiences, especially those living in the Bible Belt and Appalachia.
Many favorite country artists such as Dolly Parton, Johnny Cash andLoretta Lynn, born into poverty, weaving his early experiences into some of his most memorable songs. But many of those songs also emphasize solidarity with underpaid, overworked, but resilient people around the world (think Parton's popular country song "9 to 5," Lynne's "Coal Miner's Daughter," and Cash's "Them").
Anthony's hit is more reminiscent of Triet's "God Have Mercy on the Workers," a more overtly political anthem that clearly condemns taxes — "Uncle Sam puts his hands in my pockets/Every time he needs a dime" — and Merle's "Working Man's Blues" Haggard, where the singer proudly says "I've never been on welfare, and I don't want to either."
Many protagonists of the National Standard are proud that they have never received welfare, and some even accuse welfare recipients of spending financial aid on luxuries; Guy Drake's Welfare Cadillac is based on a text written from the perspective of a hypothetical welfare recipient who has ten children and uses his welfare to buy a brand new Cadillac.
Some listeners criticized Anthony's song for describing welfare recipients as unhealthy and dishonest: "Lord, we've got people on the street/They got nothing to eat/Fat people sucking welfare. Well, God, if you're 5 feet 3 inches tall, and £300 tax, I shouldn't have paid for your bag of cookies." (Triter's poem "God, have mercy on the workers" depicts the "rich" as "fat" in the last chorus, depicts the "poor" as "skinny".)
Anthony hasn't spoken much to the media about his song's meteoric rise and sudden fame, although he certainly has.explainIn a Thursday Facebook post, "When I turned down an $8 million offer, the music industry looked at me blankly."
"I don't want to perform in the stadium, I don't want to be in the center of attention," he said on Facebook. "These songs connect so deeply with millions of people because the people who sing them feel the words the moment they sing them."