In 1996, Nick Cave (of Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds) penned a now-notorious letter to MTV requesting they rescind his Video Music Awards nomination for Best Male Artist. In his letter, Cave asserts "my muse is not a horse and I am in no horse race." Almost two decades later, Kylie Minogue has read the rejection letter as a part of the Letters Live video series from the literary correspondence website Letters of Note. Watch the video below.
In his letter, Cave not only rejects the 1996 VMA nomination, but extends his request to include "any awards or nominations for such awards that may arise in later years," asking they instead "be presented to those who feel more comfortable with the competitive nature of these award ceremonies." Cave also read his letter for the Letters Live project last year, which you can watch while reading the full letter on the Letters of Note website.
1996 was the year of the "Macarena," when pop sirens like Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey and Celine Dion shared top chart positions with more alternative artists like No Doubt, Alanis Morissette and the Smashing Pumpkins. 2Pac was still climbing the charts even after his death that fall. It was also Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds' breakout year; 12 years after releasing their debut album From Her To Eternity, the commercially successful Murder Ballads had earned tons of airplay internationally.
The album's two lead singles, "Henry Lee" featuring PJ Harvey and "Where the Wild Roses Grow" featuring Minogue, were deeply embedded in MTV's daily rotation. As Noisey reports, "it came as little surprise that Cave was nominated for Best Male Artist at the MTV Music Awards. What also may have come as little surprise to anyone familiar with Cave was his reaction to the nomination; a politely worded but nevertheless pointed 'f*ck off.'"
The fact that Minogue duetted with Cave on the album that wooed MTV and subsequently prompted Cave's infamous words of rejection only makes her participation in the project all the more perfect. Watch the video for "Where the Wild Roses Grow" below.