As Oliver Anthony’s gritty country ballad ‘Rich Men North of Richmond’ went viral last week, the singer reveals he’s turned down $8 million offers from music executives — ‘I don’t want to play stadium shows.’
In two short weeks, Oliver Anthony’s “Rich Men North of Richmond” has become a viral hit, quickly becoming the number one song on iTunes and other rankings across North America. Last week, Oliver Anthony revealed his real name as Christopher Anthony Lunsford. He says the viral response to his music blew him away, as he only anticipated it would get “hundreds of thousands” of views — not millions.
In a lengthy Facebook post lamenting the current state of the world and explaining his background, Anthony says that his moniker “Oliver Anthony” is an homage to his grandfather, who lived in the Appalachian mountains in the 1930s. “Dirt floors, seven kids, hard times,” he writes.
“People in the music industry give me blank stares when I brush off 8 million dollar offers. I don’t want six 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,” says Anthony in a Facebook post. “I wrote the music I wrote because I was suffering (from) mental health and depression.”
“These songs have connected with millions of people on such a deep level because they’re being sung by someone feeling the words in the very moment they were being sung. No editing, no agent, no bulls***. Just some idiot and his guitar. The style of music that we should have never gotten away from in the first place.”
Anthony says that since the song has gone viral, he has received more than 50,000 messages from people reacting to the track and its lyrics, with stories about “suicide, addiction, unemployment, anxiety and depression, hopelessness, and the list goes on.”
“From 2014 until just a few days ago, I’ve worked outside sales in the industrial manufacturing world. My job has taken me all over Virginia and into the Carolinas, getting to know tens of thousands of other blue-collar workers on job sites and in factories,” Anthony continues. “I’ve spent all day, every day, for the last ten years, hearing the same story. People are so damn tired of being neglected, divided, and manipulated.”