Short Cuts: Michael Stipe releases song featuring Duluth's Gaelynn Lea

"Give Me A Hand" is available for purchase though Saturday as part of a charity compilation to support climate action.

Three light-skinned people, two men and a woman, pose for a photograph on sidewalk in front of restaurant window at nighttime.
Michael Stipe, from left, Gaelynn Lea and Paul Tressler in New York City on April 25.
Contributed / Gaelynn Lea

DULUTH — Michael Stipe has released a new song featuring Duluth musician Gaelynn Lea. "Give Me A Hand" is available for purchase on Bandcamp through Saturday as part of a charity compilation supporting climate action.

Cover art for "Give Me A Hand," a single by Michael Stipe featuring Gaelynn Lea. Cover includes black-and-white image of white man wearing black-framed eyeglasses.
Cover art for "Give Me A Hand," a single by Michael Stipe featuring Gaelynn Lea.
Contributed / EarthPercent

Lea first shared news of the collaboration last year. Stipe rose to fame as the lead singer of R.E.M., a popular and influential alternative rock band active from 1980 until amicably dissolving in 2011.

Written by Stipe with Warren Fischer (Fischerspooner) and Andy LeMaster (Now It's Overhead), "Give Me A Hand" is a gentle, gradually surging song built on synthesizers. Lea joins midway through, singing repetitions of the song's title along with Stipe. Later, her voice returns to join Stipe's on poignant lyrics including "be who you are, who you've got to be."

Lea and her husband, Paul Tressler, joined Stipe in late April for a dinner in New York City to celebrate the song's release. Lea is in New York for a workshop involving "an as-of-yet unannounced project creating a new musical," she wrote in an email to the News Tribune.

Last year, Lea made her Broadway debut as composer and a performer of an original score for a new production of "Macbeth." While the production overall received mixed reviews, Lea earned praise for her "tremendously spooky" music and made headlines for "breaking Broadway barriers."


The Duluth artist has been in New York for the past two months fine-tuning musical cues for her original score.

The new charity compilation, released through the nonprofit EarthPercent, includes a total of 67 tracks from artists including Brian Eno; Coldplay and H.E.R.; Nile Rodgers and Chic; and Donna Grantis, a Canadian guitarist who became part of Minnesota music history when Prince enlisted her to join his band 3RDEYEGIRL in 2012.

"Give Me A Hand" will also be included on one of a series of vinyl records released in limited edition July 1. To learn more about the song and compilation, see

After the success of a hastily organized debut in 2022, the daylong celebration of the Twin Ports' trans and gender-expansive community returns to Duluth on Saturday.
Community members are welcome to watch Annmarie Geniusz work.
Find something to do this week in the Northland.
15 new independent bookstores that have opened in Minnesota since March 2020.
Radio station helps keep rural reservation communities connected by sharing stories
There are 12 new pieces on the 2023 Bemidji Sculpture Walk, which has drawn curious folks to town since 1999.
Check out these fun community festivals in Akeley, Nevis, Park Rapids and Menahga.
Tuesdays in the Park, Trucks and Tunes, Bash on the Beach ... all these and more are coming to the City Park and public beach in Detroit Lakes from June through August.
From powwows to art crawls to church services, there's something for everyone to enjoy.
The summer season consists of three shows at the theater in downtown Willmar, Minnesota.

Arts and entertainment reporter Jay Gabler joined the Duluth News Tribune in 2022. His previous experience includes eight years as a digital producer at The Current (Minnesota Public Radio), four years as theater critic at Minneapolis alt-weekly City Pages, and six years as arts editor at the Twin Cities Daily Planet. He's a co-founder of pop culture and creative writing blog The Tangential; he's also a member of the National Book Critics Circle and the Minnesota Film Critics Alliance. You can reach him at or 218-279-5536.
What To Read Next
Get Local