Picks and Pans Review: Michael Stipe

UPDATED 02/27/2006 at 01:00 AM EST Originally published 02/27/2006 at 01:00 AM EST

SOUNDS OFF

To help victims of Hurricane Katrina, R.E.M.'s lead singer and some famous friends recorded six versions of "In the Sun" (99 cents per song, $4.95 for the album), with all proceeds going to charity.

ON GETTING INVOLVED I wanted to help point a spotlight on what's still a catastrophic situation. I, like all Americans, was shocked at the devastation. Five months later I went to visit New Orleans to see for myself, and I was surprised at how little has been done. I don't think people have forgotten, I just think there are messages that things are going well, and, the truth is, they're not.

ON HOW THE MUSIC CAME TOGETHER I recorded "In The Sun," by [musician] Joseph Arthur, and I did a duet of it with [Coldplay lead singer] Chris Martin. Justin Timberlake and will.i.am from the Black Eyed Peas also produced a remix. One hundred percent of the proceeds from these songs, [available on iTunes], go directly to Mercy Corps, an international aid organization [that's helping hurricane victims in the Gulf Coast].

ON WHAT MORE CAN BE DONE TO HELP OUT We need to assure the people who were impacted by this disaster that we stand beside them and the promise that we represent as a country and in our hearts. We can't allow ourselves to forget that there are a lot of people still put out by this.

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