WATCH: Oliver Anthony Speaks On Politics, Calls For Change In Emotional New Video Message

Anthony says he has enjoyed speaking with people who identify with his song “Rich Men North Of Richmond.”

By

Lauren Jo Black

| Posted on

August 25, 2023

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Oliver Anthony; Photo Courtesy YouTube

Oliver Anthony broke down in tears in a new video message that finds him speaking on the current state of the world, misinterpretations of his viral single “Rich Men North Of Richmond,” politics, and the “dirty” music industry. 

On Friday morning (Aug. 25), the viral hitmaker took to YouTube to share an emotional video, which he titled “It’s a pleasure to meet you – part 2.”

How Does He Feel Amid His Newfound Fame?

The clip begins with Anthony sharing an update on his state of mind following his breakout success with “Rich Men North Of Richmond,” which landed him at the top of the Billboard Hot 100. Following his historic chart debut, Anthony says he’s “surprisingly calm and at peace.” 

Oliver Anthony; Photo Courtesy YouTube
Oliver Anthony; Photo Courtesy YouTube

“I don’t even know what to say, but I feel thankful to be given this opportunity,” he says. 

Enjoys Connecting With People

He goes on to admit that seeing his song chart on Billboard and iTunes charts is “great” but says the most rewarding part has been the discussions he’s had. On the other hand, he’s also seen the true complexities of the music industry.     

“The exciting part’s been the conversations I’ve had with people and the things I’ve learned just in a couple of weeks about the human spirit and about all sorts of other things, the music industry and how dirty everything is. It’s worse than you think,” he warns. 

Watch

YouTube video

On the heels of his newfound success, Anthony says the future isn’t his main focus at the moment. One assurance he gives is that he won’t allow his success to change him in any way. 

Promises To Never Change

“I’m living in the present and I just have to have the discernment to make the right decisions from here on out because I think about that guy who was sitting here a few weeks ago talking to you, and the most important thing to me is not leaving him behind,” he explains. “I don’t want to go on some roller coaster ride and come off a different person if there is anything for me to address at all with you, it’s that.”

Oliver Anthony, whose song has been labeled “ring-wing,” expresses his frustrations over “Rich Men North Of Richmond” becoming entangled in politics. He also admits that he is “disappointed” that politicians are continuously attempting to align his music with their political agendas.

Oliver Anthony; Photo Courtesy YouTube
Oliver Anthony; Photo Courtesy YouTube

Does Not Want His Song To Be “Weaponized”

“The one thing that has bothered me is seeing people wrap politics up into this,” he adds. ”I’m disappointed to see, it’s aggravating seeing people on conservative news try to identify with me like I’m one of them.”

He goes on to admit that he hates seeing the song “being weaponized” and that he wants to stop being put in a political box.

“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… that shit’s got to stop,” Anthony insists, adding that the people responding to the song don’t just belong to one political party. In fact, he says “Rich Men North Of Richmond” has received “such a positive response from such a diverse group of people.”

“Rich Men North Of Richmond”

YouTube video

“I think that terrifies the people that I sing about in that song, and they’ve done everything they can the last two weeks to make me look like a fool, to spin my words, to try to stick me in a political bucket, and they can keep trying, but I’m just going to keep on writing and I’ve got a lot of words to put down on paper, and I’ve got a lot of songs to put the chords,” he promises. 

Calls Out Politicians And Musicians

His comments come after “Rich Men North Of Richmond” was used during the Republican Primary Presidential debate on August 23, which he finds “aggravating.”

“Well, it was funny seeing my song in the presidential debate, like I wrote that song about those people, so for them to have to sit there and listen to that, that cracks me up. But it was funny seeing the response to it. That song has nothing to do with Joe Biden. It’s a lot bigger than Joe Biden. That song is written about the people on that stage and a lot more too, not just them, but definitely them.”

Politicians aren’t the only ones trying to align themselves with Anthony and the song. He says several musicians have done the same.

“I’ve had a lot of people reach out to me and I’ve tried to be polite to everybody, and I’ve talked to hundreds of people the last two weeks, but it seems like certain people want to just ride the attention of this song to maybe make their own selves relevant, and that’s aggravating as hell.”

Calls For Unity

As for what the song is really about, the 30-year-old clarifies that “Rich Men North Of Richmond,” as well as his other songs, advocate for the underprivileged, highlighting societal imbalances and governmental inefficiencies.

He also emphasizes that his songs scrutinize politicians rather than blaming the needy. 

“It’s just saying that the government takes people who are needy, dependent and makes them needy, independent, and at some point, I will dissect all my lyrics of all my songs if that’s what I need to do. I mean, 30 some million people understood what I was saying, but it only takes a few to try to derail the train to try to send out false narratives, and I’m sure there’ll be more of that to come. It’s driving people crazy to see the unity that’s come from this from all walks. This isn’t a Republican and Democrat thing. This isn’t even a United States thing. This has been a global response, and don’t let anybody tell you otherwise.”

Despite the tune being pulled into politics, he is grateful that people are gravitating towards his other songs since “Rich Men North Of Richmond” catapulted into the spotlight.

Oliver Anthony; Photo Courtesy Facebook, Oliver Anthony Music
Oliver Anthony; Photo Courtesy Facebook, Oliver Anthony Music

“It’s cool seeing some of my other music come out. People are, I guess, starting to appreciate and understand what it is I’m really trying to say. It’s hard to get a message out about your political ideology or your belief about the world in three minutes and some change.

Will He Go On Tour?

While Oliver Anthony is unsure what the future of his musical career will look like or how many shows/tours he will embark on, he does vow to “stay true” to his word by writing and recording “authentic music that represents people and not politics.”

The 10-plus minute clip concludes as he breaks down in tears discussing why he believes he was given this platform and sharing his vision for the future. 

“It’s my belief that divine intervention has put me in this position, in this point in time to get a message across, and that’s all there is to it. I’m nobody special,” Anthony adds. “I feel terrible almost that I’ve been put in this place because there are a lot of artists and musicians out there that are far more talented, that have put in way more hours than me. I don’t deserve to sit in the top five places on the iTunes charts. And the truth is, I really could give a shit less about the iTunes charts.”

Oliver Anthony - I Want To Go Home; Photo via YouTube
Oliver Anthony – I Want To Go Home; Photo via YouTube

Hopes To See Change In The World

He continues, “What I care about is connecting with people. What I care about is…. I don’t know what this country is going to look like in 10 or 20 years if things don’t change. I don’t know what this world’s going to look like and something has to be done about it.”

Expressing the urgency for change, the singer/songwriter reflects on the lives lost and sacrifices made for unity.

“There’s been too many people [who’ve died]. There’s been too many people sacrifice everything. They’ve had people die before they’re even 18, just so for us to all sit here and just do the stupid shit it is that we do every day, that keeps us all beat down and divided,” Anthony concludes. ”That’s what I want to see stop. And I’m going to do everything I can to influence that at all costs. Even if it does throw my world upside down, it’s well worth it. But for now, I’m hanging in there and I’m doing what I can, and I really appreciate everybody who’s along for the ride. So there’s a lot more to come and I’m excited for it, and I’ll see you on the next one.”

Earlier this week, Oliver Anthony released a performance video for his song, “I Want To Go Home.” This honest track explores subjects such as religion, war, the sale of family farms, and the continual disappearance of green spaces. The track also touches on his mental health struggles as he begs “the good Lord” to take him home. Click HERE to watch.

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Lauren Jo Black

Written by

Lauren Jo Black

Lauren Jo Black, a University of Central Florida graduate, has immersed herself in the world of country music for over 15 years. In 2008, she co-founded CountryMusicIsLove, eventually selling it to a major record label in 2015. Following the rebranding of the website to Sounds Like Nashville, Black served as Editor-in-Chief for two and a half years. Currently, she assumes the role of Editor-in-Chief at Country Now and oversees Country Now’s content and digital footprint. Her extensive experience also encompasses her previous role as a Country Music Expert Writer for Answers.com and her work being featured on Forbes.com. She’s been spotlighted among Country Aircheck’s Women of Influence and received the 2012 Rising Star Award from the University of Central Florida. Black also spent time in front of the camera as host of Country Now Live, which brought live music directly to fans in 2021 when the majority of concerts were halted due to the pandemic. During this time, she hosted 24 weeks of live concerts via Country Now Live on Twitch with special guests such as Lady A, Dierks Bentley, Jordan Davis, Brett Young, and Jon Pardi. Over the course of her career, she has had the privilege of conducting interviews with some of the industry’s most prominent stars, including Reba McEntire, Blake Shelton, Luke Combs, Carrie Underwood, Luke Bryan, Miranda Lambert, Lainey Wilson, and many others. Lauren Jo Black is a longtime member of the Country Music Association and the Academy of Country Music.