The following article, Oliver Anthony Has Heartfelt Challenge for Fans While His Epic Rise Continues, was first published on Flag And Cross.
The feelgood story of the year in music and culture continues to unfold. Overnight sensation Oliver Anthony, whose hit song “Rich Men North of Richmond” has taken the country by storm, posted a brief video message for his millions of new fans Tuesday.
In short, it is impossible not to like this man.
Driving home from the Morris Farm Market in Currituck, North Carolina, where he performed to a crowd of 12,000 people, Anthony recorded a four-and-a-half-minute video filled with thoughtful reflections and heartfelt encouragement.
The video, titled “Moving Forward,” was posted to Anthony’s YouTube channel.
Last week, the video for “Rich Men North of Richmond” went viral, propelling the little-known country music singer-songwriter to instant stardom.
As of Tuesday morning — eight days after it first appeared on the obscure Radiowv YouTube channel — the video has amassed more than 17 million views.
Thanks to Anthony’s formidable vocals, coupled with the song’s powerful lyrics, “Rich Men North of Richmond” has resonated with ordinary Americans.
The song has a pro-worker, anti-elitist message. Anthony’s lyrics leave no doubt that he’s referring to politicians in Washington:
These rich men north of Richmond
Lord knows they all just wanna have total control
Wanna know what you think, wanna know what you do
And they don’t think you know, but I know that you do
“Rich Men North of Richmond” also highlights child sex trafficking, the nation’s mental health crisis and the dismal plight of the American working class.
WARNING: The following video contains vulgar language that some viewers may find offensive.
If “Moving Forward” is any indication, Anthony will not allow his sudden stardom to change him — nor does he plan to squander the opportunity to use his voice for good.
His message to fans has the same authentic quality as his music.
Anthony opened by describing his experience in North Carolina over the weekend. Here he highlighted the mental health theme that appears in “Rich Men North of Richmond.”
“We signed and took pictures a good four hours after the show,” Anthony said.
“And it wasn’t like people just came up and shook my hand. They come up and they told me about the battles they’ve been dealing with, depression and suicide and money, and, you know, those are real problems,” he added.
Clearly, Anthony knows that his song has struck a chord with listeners, and he understands why. He also wondered, though, how to harness the newfound energy and turn it into practical action. Hence the title “Moving Forward.”
“What are the next steps to make life better for people? What can you do for your neighbor?” he asked.
Then, Anthony showed his philosophical side, as well as a surprisingly deep historical consciousness.
“And it seems like we’ve really let ourselves focus too much on hate. I mean, humans can manifest wicked amounts of hate. We’ve seen it all throughout world history, even in the last 150, 200 years. I mean, just some of the atrocities, the genocides, the war,” he said.
In a thoughtful commentary on the human condition, he remarked that people once fought a war over spices. Now we can order spices online, and yet our natures remain unchanged.
“But we still want to fight,” he said. “We still want to hate each other. We want to find reasons to hate each other.”
The overnight musical sensation concluded on a note of encouragement and humility.
“We need to find a way to take this energy, from this anomaly of a song, from this stupid guy that — I mean, look, I appreciate the compliments, but I’m no, I’m not a good musician. I hardly know my way around the guitar. My singing’s OK. That’s not what made this. It’s you, and the struggles in your life,” he said.
“Find a way to start fixing those problems. Find a way to start having good conversations with people that live around you. That’s all I want out of this.”
It is impossible not to root for Oliver Anthony.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.
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