I stumbled upon a really cool site a while ago called, Letters of Note – Correspondence deserving of a wider audience – check it out. While picking through the posts/letters I found one that was awesome written by Nick Cave regarding his rejection of his 1996 MTV Video Music Awards for Best Male Artist. This is the full letter:
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Having said that, I feel that it’s necessary for me to request that my nomination for best male artist be withdrawn and furthermore any awards or nominations for such awards that may arise in later years be presented to those who feel more comfortable with the competitive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.
In the last line of the 2nd paragraph he says, “I am in competition with no-one”. That wasn’t meant to be a cocky statement in any way – it was meant to be humble. He does his music for him, not for recognition, not for awards – he would be doing his music if no one paid him. Now, because someone is paying him, he’s not going to change his feelings. That is integrity!
Do you feel this strongly for anything in your life? You would be fortunate if you did.