Oliver Anthony, the singer of the viral hit “Rich Men North Of Richmond,” has lashed out at both the left and the right for “weaponizing” his song.
The song, released on August 8, has since gone to #1 on the iTunes Country Chart, reached #1 on Apple Music’s Global Music Chart and has racked up over 32 million views on YouTube.
It subsequently made chart history by debuting at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. This made Anthony – a former factory worker and farmer – the first artist to do so with no previous chart history.
Upon its release, “Rich Men…” was praised by various right-wing media figures, including Dan Bongino and Matt Walsh. Meanwhile, Republican Party Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene said: described it as “the anthem of the forgotten Americans who truly support this nation and, sadly, the world.”
But other people criticized the single for being “fatphobic” and calling it a “right-wing anthem.”
Now Anthony has released a video statement asking people on both sides of the political divide for their opinion on the song and its meaning.
The statement came after members of the Republican Party mentioned it at a presidential debate this week (Aug. 23).
“It was funny to see it in the presidential debate because it’s like I wrote this song about these people,” he said. “The fact that they have to sit there and listen to this is driving me insane. It was funny to see the reaction to that.”
He added: “[The song] has nothing to do with Joe Biden. It’s a lot bigger than Joe Biden. This song was written about the people on this stage, and a whole lot more, not just them, but definitely them.
“I hate to see this song being used as a weapon, like I see the right wing trying to brand me as one of their own. And I see the left trying to discredit me, probably in retaliation. This shit has to stop.”
Anthony continued, “If you listen to my other music, it’s obvious that all of my class-related songs are defending the poor,” claiming that “there might be some people” on the left, “who have misunderstood my words”.
In a statement on social media (via the guard), Anthony said he wasn’t hasty in signing a record deal after the hit song.
“People in the music industry just stare at me blankly when I turn down eight million dollar offers,” he explained. “I don’t want six coaches, 15 semitrailers 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 from mental health issues and depression. These songs have touched millions of people on such a deep level because they are sung by someone who feels the words the moment they are sung.”