Former R.E.M. frontman, Michael Stipe, has recently discussed their hit single ‘Losing My Religion’. The singer revealed that initially, the band “didn’t realise it would be a hit single”. Released in 1991, it reached number four on the Billboard Hot 100 in the US and number 19 on the UK singles chart.
In yesterday’s interview with the New Yorker, Stipe was asked about some of the track’s iconic lyrics and his “kind of old-fashioned diction” in lines such as “losing my religion” and “wear it on your sleeve”.
In response to the interviewer wondering whether the lyrics were a reflection of Stipe’s childhood in Georgia, he said: “I wasn’t actually raised in Georgia”. Stipe revealed: “I was born there; I travelled a great deal. I didn’t realise 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.”
Stipe then proceeded to discuss the song’s origins: “‘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 realise it would be a hit single.”
Stipe also recently announced his intentions to continue working on music for his solo projects: “Oh, the music is not dying at all, no. I mean I love my voice, I love writing music and composing and arranging”.
He also admitted that he intends to continue working in music full-stop: “It’s not an easy thing to do, though. I was really pushed when the band were together, but now I’m on my own I have zero representation: I don’t have a contract with anyone, I’m a free agent.”
R.E.M. have been on indefinite hiatus since 2011. Ever since the indie heroes called it quits, their former frontman has maintained that the band will not reform.
Listen to the hit single, below.