It’s unprecedented the success that Oliver Anthonyhas had with his mega viral song “Rich Men North Of Richmond.”
The Farmville, Virginia resident went from zero to hero seemingly overnight a few weeks ago, when his performance of “Rich Men North Of Richmond” went massively viral as people from all walks of life connected with the strongly worded protest to our political system and its den of politicians in Washington D.C.
It was the first song to ever debut at number oneon the Billboard Hot 100 by an artist who never previously charted, and he told Joe Rogan on the Joe Rogan Experience podcast today that his very first paid gig was at a North Carolina farmer’s market a couple weeks ago, where Jamey Johnson even showed up to sing “In Color.”
On the episode, they discussed why the song has resonated so deeply and widely across America and beyond, and Oliver also got into some of his backstory and what has led him to this moment.
He says he gave his life to God about a month or so ago, and has found overwhelming peace from that moment on, something Chris (Oliver’s real name is Christopher Anthony Lunsford) “from six months ago” could never have imagined:
“I was just so at peace being up there, it just felt like that’s where I was supposed to be. And with all of this it has been [that way].
There’s no way that Chris from six months ago could handle what’s gone on the last two weeks, but I feel so empowered from all of it.
I’m telling you, like, again, I’m not anybody special and I’m certainly not here to preach to anybody… but coming from somebody who was just in a really fucked up place, and I used that word with discretion, but it just describes where I was.”
He explained that he grew up in church and was exposed to religion from a young age, but was turned off by the politics and theatrics he saw at the church he went to as a child.
He added that his physical health was in decline from what he now believes was symptoms due to anxiety and depression, and he had such bad shooting pains all over his body that he wound up at the ER, feeling like he was “going to die.”
After having a breakdown in his truck and feeling lost and hopeless, he told God he would change his ways because he couldn’t keep going on the way he was:
“I just felt hopeless, like almost the way a child feels hopeless when you can’t find your parent or something. Like a four-year-old who can’t find his parents, I didn’t have anything left in me.
I don’t know, I just decided right then and there, I know I can’t do this anymore, but I know there’s thing I need to do. I just told God, let me do it and I’ll give all this shit up.
I’ll give up the weed, and I’ll quit getting drunk and I’ll quit being so angry about things… and I’ll start over again and make him the focus and not me.”
Joe asked about his change in perspective, and Oliver said that he was finally able to stop worrying so much about himself and his ego, and more about his greater purpose on this earth.
It was about letting go of the satisfaction of his flesh, and letting God lead him into whatever was next in his life… though I don’t think he could’ve ever imagined all of this:
“We all sin and we all do stupid things, we’re all just people. Nobody’s special or righteous.
People sometimes act like they’re special and righteous, but we’re all just the same thing… we all serve some master whether we realize it or not, so why not let it be the master that is above all.”
And during one of the most touching and poignant moments of the episode, Oliver read scripture from his Bible, Proverbs 4:20-27, sharing a passage that changed his life.
He doesn’t cry or anything like that, but you can simply hear it in his voice how much it means to him to be able to share his faith and story on this kind of massive platform:
“And I’ll be very brief with this, I promise, but ironically it’s Proverbs 4:20, which I thought you would like…
‘My son, pay attention to what I say, turn your ear to my words. Do not let them out of your sight. Keep them within your heart, for they are life to those who find them and health to one’s whole body.
Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. Keep your mouth free from perversity, keep corrupt talk from from your lips, let your eyes look straight ahead, fix your gaze directly before you, give careful thoughts to the paths for your feet and be steadfast in all your ways.
Do not turn to the right or the left, keep your foot from evil.'”
He closed with this:
“The whole book of Proverbs is like that… it’s not preachy, it’s not what you think. It’s good guidance, it’s like good guidance that you would want a father to give to his son.”
It’s pretty cool to hear from Oliver, who has clearly struggled with some very real and dark times, talk about the true hope and faith he’s found and how God has transformed and used him in this massive way.
You can watch that whole clip here:
🔥 Oliver Anthony Shares His Favorite Scripture w/ Joe Rogan & Gets Emotional Explaining How Giving His Heart to God Turned His Life Around
"I feel like God is working inadvertently through certain people to get His point across…It talks in the Bible about being a… pic.twitter.com/G2uFSKpZaQ