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Country Music Star Randy Travis Makes Comeback with AI-Generated Song

Country Music Star Randy Travis Makes Comeback with AI-Generated Song

Country music icon Randy Travis, who suffered a stroke over a decade ago, has released a new song titled “Where That Came From.” 

This song features Travis’s voice, recreated using artificial intelligence (AI) technology, in collaboration with his wife Mary. 

The AI models used for this project were trained on vocal recordings from Travis’s extensive music career dating back to 1985.

Travis’s stroke, which occurred in July 2013, severely impacted his ability to perform.

Despite years of rehabilitation, Travis still experiences limitations in his speech due to aphasia, a condition resulting from the stroke.

The idea to use AI to recreate Travis’s voice came from Cris Lacy, co-president of Warner Music Nashville. 

Lacy worked with developers in London, UK, to train the AI models based on vocal samples from Travis’s past recordings. 

The result was a stunningly accurate recreation of Travis’s iconic voice, with listeners finding it nearly indistinguishable from the original.

Mary Travis expressed her joy at hearing her husband’s voice again after so many years. She shared that since the stroke, her husband’s greatest desire has been to hear his voice once more.

Kyle Lehning, Travis’s longtime producer, was among the first to hear the AI-generated voice. 

He described his reaction as “stunning,” noting that the technology captured about 70-75% of Travis’s original voice.

The use of AI in the music industry has sparked controversy, particularly when it involves cloning the voices of deceased or incapacitated artists. 

However, in Travis’s case, the project has received widespread support due to his involvement and desire to continue his music career despite his health challenges.

Cris Lacy emphasized that the project is not a gimmick or a stunt but rather a sincere effort to give Travis his voice back. 

She defended the authenticity of the AI-generated vocals, stating that it was essential to create a song worthy of Travis.

Despite the positive reception of “Where That Came From,” the use of generative AI in music remains a contentious issue. 

Concerns have been raised about consent, copyright, and the devaluation of human artists’ rights. 

Some artists have even signed an open letter calling on tech companies to stop using AI in ways that infringe upon the rights of human creators.

However, Travis and his wife are considering the possibility of releasing more songs featuring AI-generated vocals in the future. 

They see this as a way to continue Travis’s music career and share his talent with his fans.

Randy Travis’s comeback with “Where That Came From” represents a groundbreaking use of AI technology in the music industry. 

While it raises important questions about consent and copyright, it also offers hope for artists like Travis, who may have thought their music careers were over due to health issues.

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