Screenshot: @RadioWV YouTube Channel

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Who Is Oliver Anthony, The Songwriter Behind The Viral Anthem ‘Rich Men North Of Richmond’?

A singer-songwriter in Virginia, who goes by the name Oliver Anthony went viral last week when his anthem “Rich Men North Of Richmond” blew up on social media, leaving many to wonder just who is the red-haired, bearded man behind the lyrics.

On August 10, Oliver — born Christopher Anthony Lunsford — posted what some have dubbed the “American working man’s” song, just like he’d done with other songs he’d shared on his social media platforms. But instead of the song getting a couple thousand to several hundred thousand views, it went viral. The video stands, at the time of this publication, with 25.5 million views. It also appeared on the YouTube channel RadioWV, where the song has acquired 17 million views and counting.

Lunsford would later share that it was his “first song” he “recorded on a real microphone and a real camera,” not just on his cell phone. The song “Rich Men North of Richmond,” he said, was inspired by his days working in the factory in Western North Carolina and about those men who live north of Richmond, VA “who make life a little more difficult than it should be.”

There’s not been a whole lot of information available about him yet. What we do know is Lunsford resides with his three dogs in Farmville pursuing an off-the-grid lifestyle on 90 acres of land. Daily Wire podcast host Matt Walsh talked about Lunsford’s song and about Farmville, a place where the median household income in 2021 “was under $36,000, compared to more than $70,000 in the rest of the country.” Oliver’s songs echo those sentiments, with titles like “Rich Man’s Gold,” “Ain’t Gotta Dollar,” and “Hell On Earth.”

Shortly before RadioWV dropped his song, Lunsford gave a bit of insight into who he is and said he wasn’t on either the Right or the Left, but “dead center down the aisle” politically.

He also talked about how he’s been playing music and singing for “a long time” and “really started” writing his own stuff down in 2021 at a time that was “not good for a lot of people,” including himself.

“I had wasted a lot of nights getting high and getting drunk and I had sort of gotten to a point in my life where even things that I did care about didn’t mean anything to me anymore,” Anthony said. “I mean this is certainly no ‘Dr. Phil’ episode, but I found an outlet in this music.”

He said in the “last year” he decided at all “costs” no matter what, he was going to write and produce as much original content as he could in the hopes that it could at least help somebody out there who needs it.

Oliver also seemed to reflect on his journey of faith, admitting that he spent “a long time being an angry, little agnostic punk … I would get so angry about the concept of God. Because I had sort of perverted what my vision of God was, because I looked at the religion of man as God and not God himself.”

He said sometimes it takes “falling down on your knees” and being “ready to call things quits” before it becomes obvious God is there.

“And I don’t care where you are or what you’ve done, where you think your life’s heading, everything can change in a moment,” the singer said. “As long as you’re above the dirt, you’ve got a fighting chance.”

Lunsford recently responded to “Rich Men” becoming a viral sensation and said he’s not looking for fame, something he expanded about on Thursday when he gave a formal introduction into exactly who he is, sharing his birth name and that the name Oliver Anthony is a dedication to not only his grandfather (who bears the name) but to “1930’s Appalachia where he was born and raised. Dirt floors, seven kids, hard times.”

“People in the music industry give me blank stares when I brush off 8 million dollar offers,” Oliver wrote. “I don’t want 6 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. I wrote the music I wrote because I was suffering with 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,” he added. “No editing, no agent, no bulls–t. Just some idiot and his guitar.”

Lunsford said he dropped “out of high school at age 17” got his “GED from Spruce Pine, NC” and ended up working multiple plant jobs there.

“I worked 3rd shift, 6 days a week for $14.50 an hour in a living hell,” Oliver wrote. “In 2013, I had a bad fall at work and fractured my skull. It forced me to move back home to Virginia. Due to complications from the injury, it took me 6 months or so before I could work again.”

“From 2014 until just a few days ago, I’ve worked outside sales in the industrial manufacturing world,” he added. “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. Ive spent all day, everyday, for the last 10 years hearing the same story. People are so damn tired of being neglected, divided and manipulated.”

“In 2019, I paid $97,500 for the property and still owe about $60,000 on it,” the singer continued. “I am living in a 27′ camper with a tarp on the roof that I got off of craigslist for $750. There’s nothing special about me. I’m not a good musician, I’m not a very good person. I’ve spent the last 5 years struggling with mental health and using alcohol to drown it.”

His post went on to talk about how sad he is to see the state of the world “with everyone fighting with each other” and that he hates the “way the Internet has divided all of us,” calling it a parasite. He closed out his post with a message, “Just like those once wandering in the desert, we have lost our way from God and have let false idols distract us and divide us. It’s a damn shame.”

Related: Oliver Anthony Shares Bible Verse During First Public Performance Since Going Viral

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The Daily Wire   >  Read   >  Who Is Oliver Anthony, The Songwriter Behind The Viral Anthem ‘Rich Men North Of Richmond’?