“An Iconic Voice” — Joe Rogan Talks About Randy Travis’ AI-Generated New Song, “Where That Came From”

Randy Travis Joe Rogan country music
Randy Travis/The Joe Rogan Experience

For the first time in over a decade,  Randy Travis is putting out new music.

And it’s all thanks to artificial intelligence…

The country icon released “Where That Came From” last week, which was generated using AI technology because Travis suffered a stroke in 2013 that almost entirely took away his voice, and severely limited his ability to walk.

The song has of course stirred up a more serious conversation about the use of AI and music, because in this particular situation, Travis was able to not only consent to it, but be part of the process, though that obviously won’t be the case for artists who have either passed away, for example, should an estate decide to put out a fully AI-generated album, but I digress…

The song was written by John Scott Sherrill and Scotty Emerick, and it isn’t exactly what you think of when you think of an AI-generated song. There are actual songwriters, so it’s not just a Chat GPT-generated song, and an actual singer recorded the original vocals: James Dupre, a former contestant on The Voice who also stands in for Randy on his tour dates.

But when it came to Randy’s distinctive baritone voice, that’s where producer Kyle Lehning turned to AI for help. Vocals were isolated from over 40 of Randy’s original tracks. After the music was stripped away, leaving only Randy’s voice, it was then overlaid onto the track from Dupre to create the final product.

They had to go “syllable-by-syllable” to get the sound right, and obviously, many fans of Travis, as well as music in general, are divided on not only this song, but the future of what something like this means for music in general.

And of course, on a recent episode of the Joe Rogan Experience with guest Mike Baker, former CIA covert operations officer, the podcast host talked about how Travis used AI to create this new song, noting that he obviously has such “an iconic voice” and now he can use it again using AI.

The conversation started after they talked briefly about how so many country artists, like Chris Stapleton specifically, start out as songwriters first:

“Randy Travis is using AI now to make new songs because he was paralyzed by a stroke, but because they could take his voice, which is an iconic voice…

Randy Travis has an incredible voice, but because of AI, they could get recordings of him singing, and he could plug it into AI and he can still make songs.”

Baker added that it takes less than a 30 second snippet of someone’s voice now to recreate it for other uses, in an effort to explain how fast the technology has, and will continue to, evolve.

I think many of us thought we would never hear Travis sing another song, so in a way it is really cool to hear it again, but like I said, it kind of opens another can of worms, so to speak, in terms of what this means on a much larger scale in different scenarios going forward.

I’m still trying to figure out exactly how I feel about it, but knowing that Travis was extremely involved in the process does seem to give it much more legitimacy than some of the other AI songs that have gone viral online.

Like anything, it just feels like this has major potential to be taken advantage of and get out of hand fast, so I have a feeling we’ll be having plenty more, in-depth conversations in the future about AI’s place in music… if it has a place at all.

You can check out the Rogan clip here:

And the new Randy Travis song, “Where That Came From”:

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock