John Michael Stipe is an American singer, lyricist, film producer and visual artist. He was known as the lead singer of the alternative rock band R.E.M. from their formation in 1980 until their dissolution in 2011.\nStipe 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 the music industry, he runs his own film production companies: C-00 and Single Cell Pictures.