The PR BlogCreativityStorytelling & WritingHow Nick Cave Turned Down MTV With Some Classy Writing

How Nick Cave Turned Down MTV With Some Classy Writing

How to protect your muse from indignities.

Cover photo: @jerrysilfwer

Nick Cave turned down an MTV award — with a letter.

Image cred­it: Nick Cave by Amelia Troubridge

I love a great letter.

In 1996, Nick Cave sub­mit­ted a peti­tion to the MTV Video Music Awards demand­ing the video for his duet with Kylie Minogue be removed from con­sid­er­a­tion for the Best Male Artist award.

21 Oct 96
To all those at MTV,

I would like to start by thank­ing you all for the sup­port you have giv­en me over recent years and I am both grate­ful and flattered by the nom­in­a­tions that I have received for Best Male Artist. The air play giv­en to both the Kylie Minogue and P. J. Harvey duets from my latest album Murder Ballads has not gone unnoticed and has been greatly appre­ci­ated. So again my sin­cere thanks.

Having said that, I feel that it’s neces­sary for me to request that my nom­in­a­tion for best male artist be with­drawn and fur­ther­more any awards or nom­in­a­tions for such awards that may arise in later years be presen­ted to those who feel more com­fort­able with the com­pet­it­ive nature of these award cere­mon­ies. I myself, do not. I have always been of the opin­ion that my music is unique and indi­vidu­al and exists bey­ond the realms inhab­ited by those who would reduce things to mere meas­ur­ing. I am in com­pet­i­tion with no-one.

My rela­tion­ship with my muse is a del­ic­ate one at the best of times and I feel that it is my duty to pro­tect her from influ­ences that may offend her fra­gile nature.

She comes to me with the gift of song and in return I treat her with the respect I feel she deserves — in this case this means not sub­ject­ing her to the indig­nit­ies of judge­ment and com­pet­i­tion. My muse is not a horse and I am in no horse race and if indeed she was, still I would not har­ness her to this tum­brel — this bloody cart of severed heads and glit­ter­ing prizes. My muse may spook! May bolt! May aban­don me com­pletely!

So once again, to the people at MTV, I appre­ci­ate the zeal and energy that was put behind my last record, I truly do and say thank you and again I say thank you but no … no thank you.

Yours sin­cerely,
Nick Cave.

The let­ter seems to have fallen on deaf ears, though, since Nick Cave was still nom­in­ated for Best Male Artist for his duet Where the Wild Roses Grow with Kylie Minogue. C’est la vie.

Read also: William Faulkner on Writing From the Heart

Please sup­port my blog by shar­ing it with oth­er PR- and com­mu­nic­a­tion pro­fes­sion­als. For ques­tions or PR sup­port, con­tact me via jerry@​spinfactory.​com.

Jerry Silfwer
Jerry Silfwer
Jerry Silfwer, alias Doctor Spin, is an awarded senior adviser specialising in public relations and digital strategy. Currently CEO at KIX Index and Spin Factory. Before that, he worked at Kaufmann, Whispr Group, Springtime PR, and Spotlight PR. Based in Stockholm, Sweden.

The Cover Photo

The cover photo has nothing to do with public relations, of course. I share for no other reason that I happen to enjoy photography. Call it an “ornamental distraction”—and a subtle reminder to appreciate nature.

The cover photo has


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