Michael Stipe is an American singer, songwriter, musician, film producer, music video director and visual artist. He was the lead singer of the alternative rock band R.E.M. from their formation in 1980 until their dissolution in 2011. The band was pivotal in the development of the alternative rock genre. R.E.M. released 15 studio albums, including Out of Time (1991) and Automatic for the People (1992), as well as numerous live albums and compilation albums. Stipe 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-Hundred (C-00) and Single Cell Pictures. Stipe is also noted for his social and political activism. He was born on January 4, 1960.