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Chatting with R.E.M. and Jason Isbell at the Songwriters Hall of Fame

R.E.M. and Jason Isbell chatted at the red carpet of the 2024 Songwriters Hall of Fame induction ceremony.

Michael Stipe, Peter Buck, Jason Isbell, Bill Berry and Mike Mills at the 2024 Songwriters Hall of Fame
Michael Stipe, Peter Buck, Jason Isbell, Bill Berry and Mike Mills at the 2024 Songwriters Hall of Fame. Photo Credit: L. Busacca, Getty Images for Songwriters Hall Of Fame.
Michael Stipe, Peter Buck, Jason Isbell, Bill Berry and Mike Mills at the 2024 Songwriters Hall of Fame. Photo Credit: L. Busacca, Getty Images for Songwriters Hall Of Fame.

R.E.M. and Jason Isbell chatted at the red carpet of the 2024 Songwriters Hall of Fame induction ceremony.

The 53rd annual Songwriters Hall of Fame Induction and Awards GALA took place at the New York Marriott Marquis Hotel in Manhattan.

R.E.M. red carpet interview

Bill Berry, Peter Buck, Mike Mills, and Michael Stipe of R.E.M. were inducted into the coveted Songwriters Hall of Fame, and Jason Isbell did the honors on their behalf.

On getting inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame, bassist Mike Mills remarked, “It hasn’t happened yet… but it’s going to feel good.”

Mills discussed the significance of the power of songwriting. “Songwriting is one of the greatest memory triggers in the world right up there with the sense of smell,” Mills said.

“The fact that we can make people happy makes us happy,” Mills added.

For young and aspiring singer-songwriters, Mills encouraged them to “work their a** off.”

On his definition of the word success, Mills said, “Getting to play music for a living, that’s success.”

Live performances in the honor of R.E.M.

R.E.M. had the final induction of the night, which was led by six-time Grammy-winning singer-songwriter Jason Isbell.

Isbell performed the rock band’s 1987 song “It’s the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine).” 

R.E.M. then got on the stage to perform their Grammy award-winning hit single “Losing My Religion,” which earned a raucous response from the audience. This marked their first performance together in over 15 years.

Jason Isbell interview

On being at the Songwriters Hall of Fame to induct R.E.M., Jason Isbell stated, “It’s great, it’s fantastic. I’m here on behalf of R.E.M. I am speaking and playing for them. They were a huge influence on me, and they are people I think very highly of, so I am am honored to be here.”

When asked about his music and songwriting inspirations, Isbell responded, “Inspiration is for amateurs like Chuck Close said. The rest of us just show up and get to work. This is my job, and it’s the only thing I know how to do right.”

Isbell recalled performing at The Paramount in Huntington on Long Island. “It was beautiful playing The Paramount,” he admitted.

On the title of the current chapter of his life, Isbell revealed, “More Changes.”

When asked what his superpower of choice would be, he shared, “I can bite into a popsicle like it’s an apple and it doesn’t hurt… that’s because I got new teeth, and it makes me feel as if I can control my dreams. It’s the most amazing thing in the world.”

For young and aspiring singer-songwriters, Isbell said, “If you write more and more songs, you will eventually get good at it. The first few hundred that I wrote were terrible. Just don’t stop.”

On his definition of the word success, Isbell said, “Being able to do what you want creatively.”

For his fans and supporters, Isbell shared the following message: “Don’t go on the Internet.”

Markos Papadatos
Written By

Markos Papadatos is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for Music News. Papadatos is a Greek-American journalist and educator that has authored over 21,000 original articles over the past 18 years. He has interviewed some of the biggest names in music, entertainment, lifestyle, magic, and sports. He is a 16-time "Best of Long Island" winner, where for three consecutive years (2020, 2021, and 2022), he was honored as the "Best Long Island Personality" in Arts & Entertainment, an honor that has gone to Billy Joel six times.

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