Christopher Anthony Lunsford, the artist who performed the new single hit “Rich Men North of Richmond,” recently revealed in a long Facebook post that he is turning down an $8 million offer from music industry giants.
Just over a week ago, the YouTube release of Oliver Anthony’s raw ballad “Rich Men North of Richmond” took place. The track has now emerged as the working-class political rallying anthem for numerous Americans as they approach the upcoming 2024 presidential election season.
He came forward on Thursday as Christopher Anthony Lunsford, the true identity behind the name Oliver Anthony.
Formerly employed in a factory, Lunsford resides in the overlooked region of Appalachia, a part of the United States burdened by both an opioid crisis and deserted industrial facilities. His song narrates the experiences of blue-collar individuals who grapple with daily challenges, all the while feeling neglected and ridiculed by the political upper echelons located just north of Richmond.
He expressed his astonishment at the viral reception of the song, admitting he had only envisioned it garnering hundreds or thousands of views — not millions. By Friday, the song had claimed the top position on iTunes charts.
Lunsford elaborated in an extensive Facebook post about his decision to decline an $8 million offer from astonished music industry executives:
People in the music industry give me blank stares when I brush off 8 million dollar offers. I don’t want 6 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. No editing, no agent, no bullshit. Just some idiot and his guitar. The style of music that we should have never gotten away from in the first place.
After going viral less than a week ago, he has received over 50,000 messages in response to the song. Among these messages are people encompassing themes of “suicide, addiction, unemployment, anxiety, depression, and hopelessness,” says Lunsford.
Lunsford proceeded to delve into further particulars regarding his own identity :
My legal name is Christopher Anthony Lunsford. My grandfather was Oliver Anthony, and “Oliver Anthony Music” is a dedication not only to him, but 1930’s Appalachia where he was born and raised. Dirt floors, seven kids, hard times. At this point, I’ll gladly go by Oliver because everyone knows me as such. But my friends and family still call me Chris. You can decide for yourself, either is fine.
In 2010, I dropped out of high school at age 17. I have a GED from Spruce Pine, NC. I worked multiple plant jobs in Western NC, my last being at the paper mill in McDowell county. I worked 3rd shift, 6 days a week for $14.50 an hour in a living hell. In 2013, I had a bad fall at work and fractured my skull. It forced me to move back home to Virginia. Due to complications from the injury, it took me 6 months or so before I could work again.
From 2014 until just a few days ago, I’ve worked outside sales in the industrial manufacturing world. My job has taken me all over Virginia and into the Carolinas, getting to know tens of thousands of other blue collar workers on job sites and in factories. Ive spent all day, everyday, for the last 10 years hearing the same story. People are SO damn tired of being neglected, divided and manipulated.
In 2019, I paid $97,500 for the property and still owe about $60,000 on it. I am living in a 27′ camper with a tarp on the roof that I got off of craigslist for $750.
There’s nothing special about me. I’m not a good musician, I’m not a very good person. I’ve spent the last 5 years struggling with mental health and using alcohol to drown it. I am sad to see the world in the state it’s in, with everyone fighting with each other. I have spent many nights feeling hopeless, that the greatest country on Earth is quickly fading away.
He ends his lengthy post, stating that
That being said, I HATE the way the Internet has divided all of us. The Internet is a parasite, that infects the minds of humans and has their way with them. Hours wasted, goals forgotten, loved ones sitting in houses with each other distracted all day by technology made by the hands of other poor souls in sweat shops in a foreign land.
When is enough, enough? When are we going to fight for what is right again? MILLIONS have died protecting the liberties we have. Freedom of speech is such a precious gift. Never in world history has the world had the freedom it currently does. Don’t let them take it away from you.
Just like those once wandering in the desert, we have lost our way from God and have let false idols distract us and divide us. It’s a damn shame.
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