Nick Cave Is Hesitant To Boycott Music From Controversial Artists: ‘We Need To Be Very, Very Careful’

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For years, music fans have debated whether it’s right to “separate the art from the artist,” as it is often phrased. If a musician does deplorable things in their personal lives, should people still support them by consuming their creative output? For Nick Cave, that’s a more complicated question than it seems to be for many people.

Yesterday (May 28), Cave and Sean O’Hagan spoke at an event in Wales to discuss their book, Faith, Hope And Carnage (as The Line Of Best Fit notes). During the conversation, Cave noted, “Making art — especially making music — it prevents you from becoming the worst aspects of your character, and that’s why I very much think we need to be very, very careful about the music we don’t think people should listen to anymore because of what the artist who has made that music may have been like.”

He added, “We need to understand that the songs themselves are the best of them [the artist],” saying that consumers’ actions shouldn’t “eradicate the best of these people in order to punish the worst of them.”

This comes shortly after Timbaland shared his thoughts on R. Kelly, saying, “R. Kelly’s the king of R&B. We all know that, man. […] His art is his art. I’m not going to bash the man’s art. […] To me, we have to learn how to… I think, as a culture, we have to learn how to separate that.”

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