Viral sensation Oliver Anthony, whose real name is Christopher Anthony Lunsford, joined Joe Rogan on his “The Joe Rogan Experience” podcast this week (Aug. 30). During the interview, the two discussed mental health, pornography, government, songwriting, and what changed in Anthony’s life that brought him overnight success.
Anthony (31), who lives with his wife and two children in a 27-foot camper in south-central Virginia, shot to No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot 100 after his “Rich Men North of Richmond” video was released on YouTube and racked up over 12.5 million views. To date, the video has garnered a staggering 52 million views.
The country singer told Rogan that playing in front of large crowds is quite foreign to him, sharing that it would have been a difference experience for him prior to committing his life to Jesus, as he suffered from severe anxiety. In fact, he told Rogan that his first ever paid gig was a North Carolina farmer’s market show that has since gone viral.
Anthony shared that a few months ago, he thought he was going to die. The singer’s anxiety had him feeling pain in his chest, arms, jaw, and legs, leading him to believe he was suffering from a heart condition. Admitting that he drank too much alcohol and smoked too much marijuana, Anthony knew that something had to change.
That is when he gave his life to God and promised he’d get sober if God would help him follow his dream.
Anthony told Rogan that since that day, he hasn’t gotten high and has been cutting out drinking alcohol. Anthony credits his sobriety and recent success to God.
“My sh*t stinks,” Anthony said, admitting that he is aware of his foul language. “I’m nobody special, and I’m not here to preach to anybody. But I’m telling you, giving things to God, for me, alleviated 99%” what he was experiencing mentally and physically.
Describing his “breakdown moment,” Anthony said it was the moment he “decided that I was going to let whatever ego I had go. And, at this point, I knew I didn’t have much left in for me anyway, and I wanted to serve whatever purpose it was that I was here to serve.” Anthony explained that an overwhelming feeling then came over him and he began to cry “like a baby.”
The feeling that led him to cry out to God hasn’t gone away, said Anthony, and he shared that it would have been unthinkable for him to play a gig in front of 12,000 people before that.
“I was just so at peace being up there. Like it just felt like that’s where I was supposed to be,” Anthony said. “There’s no way that Chris from six months ago could handle what’s gone on the last two weeks, but I feel just so empowered from all of it.”