Who is Oliver Anthony?

If you’re an ardent follower of grassroots politics or feel-good country music, then you might have heard of the viral country music singer who produces his own song. Oliver Anthony suddenly found himself in the spotlight when his song “Rich Men North of Richmond” went viral on YouTube in August 2023. The song had lyrics that suited opposing sides of the political sphere, and it became a momentary anthem in the process. Being a sort of hermit and someone without prior fame, not much is known about Oliver Anthony, leaving fans and curious onlookers to wonder, “Who is Oliver Anthony?”

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His Beginnings

Oliver Anthony was born in Farmville, Virginia around 1992 or 1993 as Christopher Anthony Lunsford. He describes himself as a Piedmont-born and raised man. Not much is known about his formative years but Anthony mentioned in a Facebook post that he dropped out of high school at 17. However, he later went ahead to secure a General Educational Development (GED) diploma from Spruce Pine, North Carolina. Following this, he worked jobs in North Carolina and Virginia as a factory worker.

Furthermore, Anthony worked multiple plant jobs in Western NC, with his last position being at the paper mill in McDowell County. He endured the challenges of working the grueling 3rd shift, six days a week, all while earning $14.50 an hour. In 2013, a tragic incident occurred as he had a severe fall at work, resulting in a fractured skull. This unfortunate event compelled him to return to his hometown in Virginia. Battling complications stemming from the injury, it took him approximately six months to recover sufficiently to resume work. 

From 2014 until his big break in August 2023, he worked in outside sales within the industrial manufacturing sector. His job led him to various locations in Virginia and the Carolinas, where he had the opportunity to interact with numerous blue-collar workers on job sites and in factories.

Mental Health Struggles

Before he became a songwriter and overnight star, Anthony said he battled with mental health issues and depression. He also talked about his problems with alcohol abuse and how he overcame being an alcoholic. He was an alcoholic for five years until the day he broke down and “prayed to God for help.” He has been on the road to recovery since then.

Singing Career

Adopting his grandfather’s name, Chris Lunsford began releasing music under the moniker Oliver Anthony Music. He chose the name as a way to pay homage to his grandfather who lived and survived the Depression era. He began writing and singing songs in the country folk genre in 2021, and he released his first self-produced track in 2022. 

He plays a resonator guitar and sings in a raspy voice while spotting his signature red beards. His debut song is “Aint Gotta Dollar”, which he uploaded to YouTube on September 10, 2022. The song made it to No. 8 on Canada Digital Songs (Billboard), 82 on the US Billboard Hot 100, and 21 on the US Hot Country Songs (Billboard). He followed with singles like “Rich Man’s Gold,” “I Want To Go Home,” “Doggonit,” and “Long Gone.”

His Big Break – “Rich Men North of Richmond”

Oliver Anthony’s big break came on August 8, 2023, when radiowv released a music video of Anthony playing his guitar and singing “Rich Men North of Richmond” on YouTube. In three days, the video garnered over 5 million views, even though the only instrument used was Anthony’s resonator guitar.

In its viral stage, commentators called the song an anthem for “conservative, blue-collar workers, and the right-wing.” The song gained even more traction when it was featured in the first Republican presidential debate in Milwaukee on August 23, 2023, by Fox News, featuring Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. Not quite long after, the song debuted at No. 1 on Billboard Hot 100, making Oliver Anthony a record-holder as the first artist to debut a song at No. 1 without any prior entries in other forms. 

The song also became the first by a solo male artist to simultaneously claim the No. 1 spot on both the Hot 100 and Hot Country Songs charts in its debut week.

The theme of the song focuses on food poverty, low wages, disgruntled workers, high taxation, child trafficking, and wealth hoarding by “obese” men. 

Oliver Anthony Now

A few weeks after his virality, Anthony released a music video for his song “I Want To Go Home” on his YouTube music channel, and it got over a million views within 24 hours of its release. He also released the video for “90 Some Chevy,” one of his earlier tracks. In an interview with Billboard, Draven Riffe, co-manager alongside Brian Prentice, disclosed that five additional acoustic tracks were recorded during the same sessions as “Rich Men” at Anthony’s farm. These new songs are set to be released soon. Riffe also mentioned that concert bookings are scheduled until the end of 2023.

Personally, Anthony described himself as averse to fame. He said he wasn’t expecting to be a famous music star, a statement that was confirmed by his rebuff of millions of dollars worth of music record deal offers. He said he didn’t want tour buses, tractor-trailers, or jets.

As of August 2023, Oliver Anthony lives with his wife and two children on a 27′ camper with a tarp on the roof that he got off of Craigslist for $750, where he would love to raise livestock in the foreseeable future. He also revealed he got his property in 2019, paid $97,500 for the property, and still owes about $60,000 on it. He continues to write songs while planning for future concerts similar to the free ones he had already organized after “Rich Men North of Richmond” gained fame.

Ready to dance the night away? Join us on the Oliver Anthony Tour and groove to the hottest beats!

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