John Michael Stipe (born January 4, 1960) is an American singer, songwriter, musician, film producer, music video director, and visual artist. He is best known as the lead singer of the alternative rock band R.E.M. from their formation in 1980 until their dissolution in 2011.
Possessing a distinctive voice, Stipe is noted 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 the music industry, he owns and runs two film production studios, C-00 and Single Cell Pictures.
As singer/songwriter, Stipe is considered an influence to a wide range of artists including Kurt Cobain of Nirvana and U2's lead singer Bono who said in 2003 "That voice. It's an extraordinary voice".