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Randy Travis Recovers His Voice In A New Warner AI Music Experiment


Country singer Randy Travis, left unable to sing or speak properly following a 2013 stroke, has unveiled a new song, marking his first release since the incident. However, Travis didn’t perform the vocals himself; instead, AI software and a surrogate singer were utilized in the creation process.

Titled “Where That Came From,” the song embodies the folksy, sentimental style that Travis became renowned for during the peak of his career. Produced by training an unnamed AI model with 42 of Travis’ vocal-isolated recordings, fellow country singer James DuPre laid down the vocals under the guidance of Travis and his long-time producer Kyle Lehning.

While the song is available on YouTube and various streaming platforms like Apple Music and Spotify, its creation marks an intriguing experiment by Warner Music.

The outcome of Warner’s venture is a mellow melody that mirrors Travis’ signature relaxed style, reminiscent of the timeless tunes that graced the charts during his heyday. Despite not being a quintessential Randy Travis song, “Where That Came From” resonates with listeners.

Dustin Ballard, known for his AI voice parodies on social media, operates similarly to Travis’ team, concocting amusing mash-ups such as AI Elvis Presley singing “Baby Got Back” or synthetic Johnny Cash delivering “Barbie Girl.”

While some may perceive this experiment as a harbinger of the demise of human-made music, it instead underscores the potential of AI voice cloning in skilled hands, showcasing its capacity beyond casual usage.

Cris Lacy, Co-president of Warner Music Nashville, lauds the label’s employment of AI to clone Travis’ voice as “AI for good,” distinguishing it from unauthorized recreations.

With Tennessee’s ELVIS Act set to take effect, granting labels legal recourse against unauthorized use of an artist’s voice via software, Travis’ song raises pertinent questions about the future of music creation and the responsibilities of the industry.

While Travis’ song serves as a poignant illustration of AI’s potential in creating authentic music, it also prompts reflection on the broader implications for Warner Music Nashville and the music industry at large.

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