Oliver Anthony, the singer of viral hit ‘Rich Men North Of Richmond’, has hit out at both those on the left and right for “weaponising” his song.
Released on August 8, the song has since hit Number One on the iTunes Country Charts, soared to the top spot on Apple Music’s Global Music Charts, and racked up over 32million views on YouTube.
It then made chart history by debuting at Number One on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, making Anthony – a former factory worker and farmer – the first artist to do so without any prior chart history.
Upon its release, ‘Rich Men…’ was praised by various right-wing media figures including Dan Bongino and Matt Walsh. Republication representative Marjorie Taylor Greene, meanwhile, described it as “the anthem of the forgotten Americans who truly support this nation and unfortunately the world”.
But other people have criticised the single for being “fatphobic” and labelled it a “right-wing anthem”.
Now, Anthony has released a video statement in which he hits out at those on both sides of the political divide for their opinions on the song and its meaning.
The statement came after Republican Party members mentioned it at a presidential debate this week (August 23).
“It was funny seeing it at the presidential debate, because it’s like I wrote that song about those people,” he said. “So for them to have to sit there and listen to that, that cracks me up. It was funny kind of seeing the response to it.”
He added: “[The song] has nothing to do with Joe Biden. It’s a lot bigger than Joe Biden. That song was written about the people on that stage, and a lot more too, not just them, but definitely them.
“I do hate seeing that song being weaponised, like I see the right trying to characterise 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 went on to say that “if you listen to my other music, it’s obvious that all of my songs that reference class defend the poor,” claiming that “there may some people” on the left “who misunderstood my words”.
In a statement on social media (via the Guardian), Anthony said he wasn’t rushing into signing a record deal just yet following the hit song.
“People in the music industry give me blank stares when I brush off eight million dollar offers,” he explained. “I don’t want six 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.”