Just last week, Oliver Anthony became an overnight sensation amongst people across the world with his brutally honest song, “Rich Men North of Richmond.”
In a time where it’s incredibly difficult for the average working citizen to make a decent living due to to an entire host of socio-economic and political problems, the song has been able to reach just about every listener in some way shape or form.
And just like that, the Virginia resident is now the biggest face in music, as “Rich Men North of Richmond” jumped to number one on the U.S. iTunes chart overnight, has topped the Apple Music charts, and should find itself atop the Billboard chart later this week.
On top of that, he played his first real show at the Morris Farmer’s Market in North Carolina, and drew a crowd of thousands of people, just to hear Anthony’s music and story live and in person.
Jamey Johnson even had to make an appearance, and sang “In Color” with him.
Ever since the song went viral, Anthony has shared a few updates on YouTube about his purpose behind the song, along with telling his story.
Of course, it didn’t take long for the song to be engulfed in the culture war, however in one update, Oliver explicitly describes himself as “dead center politically,” and wants to reach all hurting people, regardless of what political party they support.
He said of the song:
“It touches on my time in Western North Carolina working in the factory, it talks about some people who live north of Richmond, Virginia, who I’m sure you’re very aware of.
It touches on human trafficking and the atrocities that… I’ll say this, I sit pretty dead center down the aisle on politics and always have.
The last part of the song touches on suicide rates and on mental health and depression. People talk about epidemics in this country… homelessness and drug use, the lack of skilled labor and the suicide rates… those are symptoms of a bigger, universal problem.”
And now, he’s back at it again with yet another update, titled “Moving Forward.”
Anthony kicked things off by expressing his gratitude to all of the fans who showed up to his show at the farmer’s market, and how there were people driving and flying in from up north just to hear him play.
He also discussed how he believes in how much good humans are capable of, even though there seems to be so much hate buried inside people’s hearts during this time.
And he gave this one message regarding how he wants to see this play out moving forward:
“In this moment in time, when so many people are feeling these same frustrations, it would be wonderful to capitalize on that, and just use that positive energy to help other people in life. Maybe people that are different than you. People that you normally wouldn’t connect with.
I can tell you from my experience in the jobs I’ve had and all the people I’ve talked to, everyone has a really interesting story if you just give them the time to talk.
And it’s easy to walk down the sidewalk beside somebody, and look down at the ground and look at your phone. But that really is a big part of the problem. We’re all so disconnected from each other.”
And he closed it out by saying:
“We need to find a way to take this energy from this anomaly of a song, from this stupid guy that, I mean look… I appreciate the compliments but I’m not a good musician, I hardly know my way around the guitar, my singing is okay, but that’s not what made this.
It’s you, and the struggles in your life. That’s what made this what it is. Find a way to start fixing those problems. Find a way to start having good conversations with the people around you… that’s all I want out of this.”