Michael Stipe has weighed in on former President Barack Obama’s decision to commute Chelsea Manning’s sentence in one of his final acts as president, prior to Donald Trump taking over the role. Manning, who was convicted of disseminating 750,000 pages of confidential information to WikiLeaks, has been serving time in prison since 2013, according to Billboard.
— Mindy Rosier (@MindyRosier) January 30, 2017
Obama’s actions brought a widespread mixture of praise and criticism, and the former R.E.M. singer was one of the celebrities who praised Obama’s decision. Michael side released a statement in which he praised the “incredible courage” of former President Obama, calling it a “thrilling day for true patriots.”
“Incredible courage on the part of both Obama and Chelsea Manning. What a thrilling day for true patriots!!”
Michael Stipe celebrated his 57th birthday earlier this month with plenty of sweet messages on social media from his friends and fans, but there was one message that truly stood out, according to Sunday World. The Leftovers actress Liv Tyler took to Instagram to share a sweet message to the former R.E.M singer.
Tyler, who is one of Michael Stipe’s closest friends, described in her heartfelt post how “grateful” she felt to be one of the singer’s friends and called him a “magical unicorn.” The actress posted the message alongside a black and white picture of Stipe.
Happy birthday to this magical unicorn ????????@michaelstipe ???????? I am so grateful to know you. To be your friend in this lifetime. If I ever had to be stranded on a deserted island with someone , I pick you !!! I love and admire you. You are love. You are kindness. You are brave. You are gentle. You are fun . You are a great listener . A teacher. A thinker. A feeler. I learn so much from you , I treasure our every adventure !!! May your heart feel full on love today. ????????????????
A photo posted by Liv Tyler (@misslivalittle) on
Tyler wrote in the post that if she ever had to be stranded on a deserted island and could pick anyone to join her, she would pick Michael Stipe. The actress added that she “loves” and “admires” the former R.E.M singer, who turned 57-years-old on January 4.
“You are love. You are kindness. You are brave. You are gentle. You are fun. You are a great listener. A teacher. A thinker. A feeler.”
Tyler also added that she learns “so much” from Michael Stipe and said she “treasures” their every “adventure.”
“May your heart feel full on love today.”
Michael Stipe may love to be the receiver of sweet birthday things, but he also loves to be the giver as much, according to Rolling Stone magazine. The former R.E.M singer made a surprise appearance onstage during Patti Smith’s 70th birthday celebration at the Riviera Theatre in Chicago.
During the concert, Michael Stipe made a surprise appearance onstage to give the singer a birthday cake before presenting the audience with his rendition of “Happy Birthday to You.” The former R.E.M singer also joined Smith and her band to perform classic hit “People Have the Power.”
— Perimus Music Group (@PerimusMusicGrp) January 4, 2017
Michael Stipe first performed onstage after R.E.M’s split during an unannounced opening act of one of Smith’s concerts in New York City in December, 2014.
In December, 2016, Michael Stipe came by Late Show with Stephen Colbert to recap some of the most depressing moments of 2016, according to Rolling Stone magazine. Stipe joined the host of the late-night snow, Stephen Colbert, to recap some of the biggest 2016 headlines by tweaking R.E.M classic hit “It’s the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine).”
— Darwinisms (@DarwinismsBlog) December 28, 2016
By mimicking Michael Stipe’s signature rapid-fire delivery, Colbert rattled off lyrics like “Oh, great, it starts with an outbreak, Zika, and Harambe.” The duo touched upon some of the most pressing issues of 2016: U.S. President-elect Donald Trump’s infamous “p****-grabbing” scandal, Russian President Vladimir Putin “breathing down our neck,” and even the new First Lady Melania Trump’s alleged plagiarism of Michelle Obama’s speech.
As Michael Stipe was unwilling to admit that he’s feeling “fine,” it was surprise guest actor James Franco who encouraged the former R.E.M singer to go along with the song’s vibes. The host then concluded that even though 2016 was “idiotic and chaotic,” the “end’s in sight.”
As Michael Stipe sat down with Colbert for an interview, he didn’t only discuss political topics. The former R.E.M singer admitted it were P.J. Harvey and Radiohead who inspired him to perform live again.
“You see them up there, and it’s like, ‘Wow, I kind of want to jump up there again.’ But I had to step away from music for awhile.”
Michael Stipe also confessed that he had planned a longer break from music, but Fischerspooner invited him to co-write and produce their fourth LP called SIR, which will be released this year. The singer admitted that it was “a complete surprise.”
“I didn’t anticipate doing it, but they asked me to help them with a couple songs, and I wound up co-writing everything.”
[Featured Image by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images]