R.E.M. almost single-handedly made Athens famous as a hotbed for independent rock in the 1980s.
The group, which has won three Grammys and sold over 70 million records, will be inducted into the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame in a ceremony Monday night in New York, the AP said.
Stipe, who splits his time between Athens and New York, said he feels "more connected to the community of artists that I've gone back to time and again and been re-energized and re-excited by - (people) who take ideas in progressively different directions."
The town has always had an independent and creative spirit, Stipe said.
"(Athens) is very much about creating your own thing rather than imitating something coming out of cultural hot spots like New York or L.A.," Stipe says. "And I'm happy to report - and I do that a lot, I feel like I'm the champion campaigner for the community that Athens is - that what was more music-centric in the '80s has now branched out to things like photography and painting and filmmaking and different mediums."