Michael Stipe shares fresh insight into his upcoming new solo album

“I can’t play an instrument, so that makes composing for me that much more thrilling"

Michael Stipe has given an update on the progress of his new solo album, which is currently in the works, in a new interview.

The R.E.M. frontman is working on music that will follow on from his 2020 singles ‘Drive To The Ocean’ and ‘No Time For Love Like Now’ (a collaboration with The National‘s Aaron Dessner under his Big Red Machine moniker). Stipe’s debut solo single ‘Your Capricious Soul’ came out in November 2019.

Speaking to Uncut, Stipe disclosed that he is currently working on “18 pieces of music”, adding that “some of them are much more complete than others – some have lyrics, others don’t”.


“I threw a bunch of barricades in my path by deciding to compose myself with a lot of this music,” he explained. “I’ve never written music before, which means I’m coming from a completely different vantage point than I ever did with R.E.M..

“I’m writing for things that I’ve never had any experience with whatsoever. But that’s where I get excited.”

Michael Stipe
Michael Stipe (Picture: Press)

Stipe added: “I can’t play an instrument, so that makes composing for me that much more thrilling, because I really don’t know what I’m doing and I’m not afraid of stupid sounds. So banging around on synthesisers is, for me, an easy way to create.”

The musician also spoke about his desire to make “something that’s gonna make me feel like I’m really living in the moment”.

“At the age of 60, I don’t really want to do things that are easy,” he said. “I can do whatever the fuck I want, in essence. I’m at that point in my life where I don’t really have to please anyone but myself.”


Back in September, Stipe joined the likes of Patti Smith, Cyndi Lauper and Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ Nick Zinner for a remote group cover of Patti Smith’s ‘People Have The Power’.

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