Singer Oliver Anthony released a video that conveyed both defiance and emotion, distancing himself from conservative media and politicians who would attempt to align with his anti-establishment message.
In a video published on YouTube on Friday, the red-bearded folk singer pilloried the people he characterized as opportunists attempting to latch on to his viral moment for personal attention.
“I’ve had a lot of people reach out to me and I tried to be polite to everybody, and I’ve talked to hundreds of people the last two weeks, and it seems like certain people want to just ride the attention of the song to maybe make their own selves relevant, and that’s aggravating as hell,” Anthony said.
The video, spanning over 10 minutes and filmed from his truck, showcased Anthony’s varied reactions to the current state of the nation. He expressed amusement at his song “Rich Men North of Richmond” being featured in a recent Republican primary debate.
“It was funny seeing my song in the presidential debate, because I wrote that song about those people, so for them to have to sit there and listen to that, that cracks me up,” he said, laughing.
The song, which Anthony describes as a lament for the long-oppressed working class, touches on themes like overwork, high taxation, substance abuse and the suicide epidemic. Anthony, also known by his real name Christopher Anthony Lunsford, has seen a meteoric rise to fame after his song went viral on YouTube. While many right-leaning media figures have lauded the song’s authenticity, Anthony emphasized his calm demeanor amid the media frenzy.
“It references the inefficiencies of the government because of the politicians within it that are engulfed in bribes and extortion,” Anthony said, addressing some misconceptions about his lyrics.
He criticized both the right and the left for their attempts to politicize his song. He expressed frustration with conservative media trying to claim him as one of their own, while the left has tried to discredit him.
“This isn’t a Republican and Democrat thing,” he clarified. “This isn’t even a United States thing. This has been a global response, and don’t let anybody tell you otherwise.”
Anthony’s music, particularly “Rich Men North of Richmond,” has elicited strong emotional reactions from listeners worldwide. He emphasized his commitment to producing genuine music that represents people over politics.
“I’m going to write produce and distribute authentic music that represents people and not politics,” he declared.
Toward the video’s conclusion, Anthony’s emotions surfaced as he discussed his concerns for the nation’s future trajectory.
“Something has to be done about it, you know?” he said. “There’s been too many people [who’ve] died. … For us to all sit here and just do the stupid shit we all do every day that keeps all beat down and divided, that’s what I want to see stop. I’m going to do everything I can to influence that, at all costs.”
Since the song achieved viral fame earlier this month, Anthony’s responses have been scarce. The singer has recently received criticism for an interview with “Fox & Friends,” during which the folk singer repeated progressive platitudes about “diversity” and referred to America as the “melting pot” of the world.
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