New Yorker Interview: “Michael Stipe Wants to Make Mistakes”

An inspiring conversation with Michael Stipe, this week’s New Yorker Interview (Read HERE).


A few lines from the overall piece, which is fantastic!

*There’s a kind of old-fashioned diction in your lyrics—“Losing my religion,” “Wear it on your sleeve.” As a listener, I could never tell—is that the way he talks, or how people talk in Georgia, or are those phrases from the past?

I wasn’t actually raised in Georgia. I was born there; I travelled a great deal. I didn’t realize that my grandmother, the way she talked—my friends who were not from the South had no idea what she was saying. None. And there are phrases that I pulled. “Losing my religion” is my version of an old phrase, “lost my religion.” “I almost lost my religion”—that’s what people would say. I changed it forever. I didn’t realize it would be a hit single. Or, I was just thinking of “Wendell Gee”—

I love that song. I was just listening to it this morning.

It’s about a dream. Dreamscape is a big part of what I’ve always done. Even before I knew that I had a voice—a real voice, a distinct voice. In the deepest stages of sleep, when you’re dreaming, and you’re pulling things from that, that would become a through line to everything I do.

There’s something dreamlike about pulling a few dozen photos out of thirty-seven thousand.

I really feel like part of my job is to not try to define what I’m doing, or why I’m doing it, but to trust my instincts. The older I’ve gotten, and the more triumphs and failures I’ve notched up, the better I am at realizing that instinct is where I need to go. That’s where I disappear, and something else comes through.*