Unexpected current Billboard Hot 100 chart-topping Virginia-based country performer Oliver Anthony released a ten-plus minute-long Friday afternoon YouTube video, continuing his song’s conversation about sociopolitical divisions in America while also clarifying what he believes are misconceptions about him.
His “Rich Men North of Richmond” recently interrupted Morgan Wallen’s surge toward topping Lil Nas X’s “Old Town Road’s four-year-old record-setting 19 consecutive weeks on top of the Hot 100. Also, it added unexpected depth to a broadening revival of country’s mainstream in popular culture and pop music.
Recently, his song was mentioned during Wednesday night’s first GOP 2024 United States presidential election debate.
Moderator Martha MacCallum asked Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis why he felt Anthony’s song was impacting so many lives.
DeSantis alluded to his misgivings about President Joe Biden’s economic policies and the numerous policy impasses that have plagued the past four years of America’s history.
“Those rich men north of Richmond have put us in this situation.”
“I wrote that song about those people, you know. So for them to sit there and listen to that cracks me up,” Anthony joked in response to DeSantis’ statement.
“I see the right trying to characterize me as one of their own, and I see the left trying to discredit me, I guess, in retaliation,” he said. “That’s…got to stop.”
Positively, Anthony thanked a diverse, global, growing fanbase (the song’s RadioWV Youtube post has cleared 40 million views) that he’s excited to see “[terrifying] people” who he states are trying to “make [him] look like a fool.”
Though he remains unsure as to how many shows or tours he will have, he noted a desire to “have the discernment to make the right [decisions]” regarding his future and continuing to “write, produced and distribute authentic music that represents people and not politics.”
Further defending himself and his art against attacks and a self-stated “false narrative” that he is “attacking the poor,” he cited the lyrics of his song “Doggonit,” including “Needles in the street, folks hardly surviving / On sidewalks next to highways full of cars self-driving.”
He offered that his songcraft is guided by making general statements about “the inefficiencies of the government.”
In the case of his caustic statements that led to a perceived anti-welfare slant of “Rich Men North of Richmond,” he alluded to an article he read about starving Richmond-based children unable to receive government food benefits.
He tearfully ended his clip by fearing what could happen if America stayed “beat down and divided.”
“That’s what I want to see stop,” Anthony flatly noted. “I’m going to do everything I can do to influence that, at all costs even if it does throw my world upside down.”