John Michael Stipe (born January 4, 1960) is an American singer, lyricist and visual artist. He was the lead vocalist of the alternative rock band R.E.M. from their formation in 1980 until their dissolution in 2011. Stipe is noted and occasionally parodied for the 'mumbling' style of his early career as well as his social and political activism. He was in charge of R.E.M.'s visual image; often selecting album artwork and directing many of the band's music videos. Outside of the music industry, he runs his own film production companies: C-00 and Single Cell Pictures. Stipe was born in Decatur, Georgia on January 4, 1960. Stipe was a military brat; his father was a serviceman in the United States Army whose career resulted in frequent relocations for his family. Stipe and his family moved to various locales during his childhood, including Germany, Texas, Illinois, Alabama and Georgia. He was raised Methodist. Stipe graduated from high school in Collinsville, Illinois in 1978.
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