Producer Confirms That AI Was Used To Create Randy Travis’ New Single, “Where That Came From”

Randy Travis
Randy Travis

The magic of AI.

For the first time in over a decade, we woke up this morning to a brand new single from Randy Travis.

The country music legend dropped his first new song since suffering a stroke in 2013 that almost entirely took away his voice and severely limited his ability to walk. Since then Randy’s managed to remain active in country music, even singing “Amazing Grace” during an emotional moment at his 2016 Country Music Hall of Fame induction ceremony that had everybody watching in tears.

So you can imagine the excitement when Randy revealed that he had a brand new song called “Where That Came From” coming out for the first time since his stroke.

But along with the excitement, there were also questions about how it happened, with Randy still suffering from the aphasia caused by the brain damage from his stroke that’s largely taken his ability to speak.

Immediately there was speculation that AI had something to do with the new song. And today, his record label and producer have confirmed that technology did in fact help Randy regain his voice.

Billboard reports that an interview with CBS News Sunday Morning that’s scheduled to air this weekend gives a behind-the-scenes look at how the song came to life, using old audio tracks of Randy’s voice as a starting point and overlaying those with a track recorded by another singer.

And Randy’s producer, Kyle Lehning, says that they had to go “syllable-by-syllable” to get the sound right, admitting that it freaked him out the first time he heard it come together:

“It freaked me out. When I played it back, it was like, ‘Oh my.’ And I immediately though, ‘This might work.’

Then as I listened more and more and more, and could start to dig into the nuance of it, realized that in order to really make it work, it was going to take a little bit more massaging.”

Lehning says that the most important thing was to get the feel of the song right, adding that Randy was in the studio and involved in the whole process of making sure the song was done correctly:

“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.”

While there are sure to be a lot of critics about the use of AI to create a brand new song in a singer’s voice, Warner Music Nashville co-chair and president Cris Lacy says that what’s really important is that they were able to give Randy Travis his voice back:

“It’s Randy Travis. 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.”

Not only is the entire process fascinating to me, but so are the questions that it raises about the use of AI in music. Obviously this is a unique situation with Randy losing his voice, but what about when artists who are capable of singing on their own use AI to create new music? And with the advancements in AI, will we even be able to tell when that happens?

It’s certainly a landmark moment in music, one that’s going to be interesting to follow to see where it leads.

A beer bottle on a dock

STAY ENTERTAINED

A RIFF ON WHAT COUNTRY IS REALLY ABOUT

A beer bottle on a dock