Pop star Miley Cyrus contributed a cover of “Nothing Else Matters” to Metallica’s Blacklist covers collection and originally performed it for the first time at the Glastonbury festival in 2019. Now, in an interview conversation with Lars Ulrich, she revealed why that song, of all of Metallica’s songs, has such a personal meaning, which spurred the cover.
The two spoke at length in a feature for Interview Magazine and shared their experiences getting back onstage for the first time since the beginning of the pandemic. For Cyrus, that meant getting out in front of 100,000 people at Lollapalooza without any prior warmup gig, which lead to a discussion about past festival performances.
Ulrich brought up Cyrus’ 2019 Glastonbury gig and her first-ever live performance of “Nothing Else Matters,” asking why she selected that song in particular to play in front of the more mainstream-skewed festival crowd.
“I have two notebooks that I take everywhere I go. One of them is filled with my morals, my values, my purpose, my potential, my capabilities, and my commitments—to others, and to myself. I’m constantly writing things in there,” the singer prefaced before offering an explanation.
“Recently, I wrote down something very wise that I heard, which is related to your question. It was about how lyrics are one of the most resonant aspects of a song, and of why an audience connects with a song. It has to do with the words, and to challenge that is to say that there’s no difference between lightning and a lightning bug. But there’s a big difference,” she continued.
“When I think about the sentiment behind ‘Nothing Else Matters,’ it aligns completely with my morals and my values,” Cyrus revealed. “When I listened to ‘Nothing Else Matters,’ and I knew that I was confirmed for Glastonbury — I actually have chills talking about this — it was the only song that I could imagine playing.”
Fast forward two years to the present day, the pop superstar relayed what was so special about being including on The Metallica Blacklist, which features only covers of ‘Black Album’ songs by 53 artists, some of whom are within the rock and metal realm and others who are far removed from heavy music.
Cyrus praised the Metallica’s open-mindedness regarding the wide-ranging covers set and preached for unity across different styles of music, exclaiming, “Fuck the divide.”
“For you to listen to my cover of ‘Nothing Else Matters’ with an open mind is an example of that — you don’t judge who I’ve been, what I’ve done, or how people see me,” Cyrus told Ulrich. “Then, by allowing me to cover ‘Nothing Else Matters’ on the record is like you guys validating my relationship to this song. It feels like it was written for me, and it was something that I was able to make my own. And now, my fans have that connection to it as well. That’s what happened when I covered [Dolly Parton’s] “Jolene,” too. That’s another perfect song.”
In response, Ulrich said, “It’s amazing to look at this list of 53 artists who have come together and taken the time to record all these songs. There are all these versions of ‘Nothing Else Matters’ by different artists. To hear the song filtered through everybody’s voices, approaches, and visions is an incredible thing.”
Last month (September) Metallica and Cyrus joined forces on The Howard Stern Show for a joint performance of “Nothing Else Matters.” Watch the video here.