The breakout country star known as Oliver Anthony revealed that he has rejected music deals worth as much as $8 million in a statement he posted to address his fans and supporters.
Anthony became a star after he posted his song “Rich Men North of Richmond” on social media. He has since topped the iTunes charts while critics have tried to dredgeup his past to undermine his popularity.
He responded to some of the controversy surrounding his song in a statement he posted to Facebook on Thursday.
“It’s been difficult as I browse through the 50,000+ messages and emails I’ve received in the last week. The stories that have been shared paint a brutally honest picture. Suicide, addiction, unemployment, anxiety and depression, hopelessness and the list goes on,” he wrote.
He said that he has rejected offers worth millions of dollars.
“I don’t want 6 tour buses, 15 tractor trailers and a jet,” Anthony wrote. “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 bulls***. Just some idiot and his guitar. The style of music that we should have never gotten away from in the first place.”
He also explained why he chose the stage name Oliver Anthony and revealed his legal name.
“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,” he continued.
He went on to detail dropping out of high school and getting a GED before working at various blue collar jobs.
“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 explained.
Just one video of Anthony’s song has garnered more than 25 million views.