The singer Oliver Anthony, whose music “Wealthy Males North of Richmond” has soared to the highest of the Billboard singles chart, launched a YouTube video on Friday denouncing Republicans and conservative shops for co-opting his music.
“It was humorous seeing that presidential debate,” Anthony mentioned. “I wrote that music about these individuals.”
A clip of Anthony performing was performed by Fox Information moderators at first of the Republican presidential debate on Wednesday evening in Milwaukee, after a sequence of movies of People lamenting circumstances below President Biden, together with inflation and homelessness.
The clip confirmed Anthony — with guitar in hand and two canines at his ft — singing: “These wealthy males north of Richmond / Lord is aware of all of them simply wanna have whole management.”
The music, which Anthony uploaded to YouTube earlier this month, had caught hearth with conservative figures like Matt Walsh and Laura Ingraham, who described it as an genuine expression of working-class American life. Extensively perceived as a conservative anthem, it additionally drew critiques from some on the left, who known as the lyrics racist.
On the debate, Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida was the primary to answer a query asking why the music had struck a chord with so many People.
“Our nation is in decline,” Mr. DeSantis mentioned. “This decline shouldn’t be inevitable. It’s a selection.” He added, “These wealthy males north of Richmond have put us on this scenario.”
Anthony mentioned Friday it “cracks me up” that the candidates had been compelled to hearken to his music onstage, as a result of he was singing about highly effective individuals like them.
The brand new video confirmed him behind the wheel of his truck, as heavy rain pelted the home windows. “That music has nothing to do with Joe Biden,” he mentioned. “You recognize, it’s rather a lot greater than Joe Biden.”
Anthony, who’s from Farmville, Va., additionally mentioned that he was fed up by what he perceived to be the weaponization of his music by each the correct and left.
“It’s aggravating seeing individuals on conservative information attempt to determine with me like I’m certainly one of them,” he mentioned. “I see the correct, making an attempt to characterize me as certainly one of their very own. And I see the left making an attempt to discredit me.”
The left, he added, had misinterpreted his lyrics as being assaults on the poor when, he mentioned, he was making an attempt to defend them. “I’ve received to be clear that my message like with any of my songs, it references the inefficiencies of the federal government.”
Cause, a libertarian journal, had lauded what it perceived as Anthony’s anti-tax message. However liberal commentators have been troubled by a lyric concerning the “overweight milkin’ welfare.” The folks singer Billy Bragg even wrote his personal model of the music and cautioned Anthony about punching down.
At first, Anthony appeared to welcome the eye from conservatives. He granted Fox Information the correct to make use of it within the debate, Politico reported. And he gave an interview to the community, saying that he had been motivated to write down the music due to his personal struggles, which he assumed have been shared by others.
“It resonates the struggling in our world proper now, like even in our personal nation,” he mentioned then. “We’ve had years of individuals feeling depressed and hopeless and each time you have a look at the T.V. or get on-line every little thing’s adverse.” He added that “company media and schooling” had helped to sow division.
Anthony returned to that theme in his video on Friday, saying that regardless of the way it could seem, his music had truly united individuals.
“It’s driving individuals loopy to see the unity that’s come from this from all walks,” Anthony mentioned. “This isn’t a Republican and Democrat factor. This isn’t even a United States factor. Like, this has been a worldwide response.”
Anthony, who couldn’t instantly be reached for an interview on Friday night, described himself as a “no one” who via some divine intervention had been tasked with sending a message that issues wanted to alter. Earlier than his meteoric rise to fame, he was an unknown songwriter. Though he performs as Oliver Anthony, his full identify is Christopher Anthony Lunsford.
“I don’t know what this nation goes to appear like in 10 or 20 years if issues don’t change,” he mentioned. “I don’t know what this world goes to appear like. And like, one thing needs to be achieved about it. You recognize?”