Randy Travis Enlists AI On New Single 'Where That Came From'

May 4, 2024 - News

Randy Travis shocked fans earlier this week when he announced his first song of brand-new material in over a decade, Where That Came From.

The song is out now, and Travis’s longtime producer, Kyle Lehning, revealed that the pair utilised AI technology to clone Travis’s voice over another singer’s vocals. As Rolling Stone reports, it’s currently unclear who the other singer is.

Lehning explained on CBS Sunday Morning alongside Travis’s wife, Mary, and Cris Lacy, the Warner Music Nashville Co-President, “It’s not about how it sounds; it’s about how it feels. Him being here and him being able to be, you know, a vital part of the decision-making process makes all the difference to me.”

One of the first commercial songs to utilise AI-cloned vocals, Lacy said, “There’s so much chatter about the negative sides of AI. We started with this concept of ‘What would AI look like for us?’ And the first thing that came to mind was we would give Randy Travis his voice back.”

Lacy continued, “Randy’s on the other side of the microphone; it’s still his vocal. There’s no reason he shouldn’t be able to make music. And to deprive him of that, if he still wants to do that, that’s unconscionable to me.”

As Rolling Stone notes, Travis’s use of AI raises questions about royalties and credits for the unnamed singer who provided the original vocals on Where That Came From.

You can listen to the song below.

In 2013, Randy Travis suffered a near-fatal stroke that resulted in his ability to sing and talk being severely impacted.

Announcing his new music on Instagram, Travis wrote in the caption, “It’s been a while since my last new recording, but I’m excited to share that this Friday, May 3, I will be releasing my first brand new studio recording in more than a decade, ‘Where That Came From’”.

He added, “You’ll hear much more about the special team of folks who came together to help make this magical moment in my career possible in the coming week.

“In the meantime, just know that when it comes to me singing songs for you, there’s always more where that came from. Thank you for singing along all these years.”

The conversation surrounding AI in music is complex and emotional. More than 200 artists recently signed an open letter against “efforts directly aimed at replacing the work of human artists with massive quantities of AI.”

Artists like Nick CaveJames Blunt and Jordan Merrick have argued against AI in music, while the likes of Billy JoelPeter Gabriel, IDLES, and the estate of Elvis Presley have already utilised it in their campaigns.

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