Photo: Dwight McCann

Randy Travis’s AI Song Hits Country Chart

Celebrating his first radio-charting song in some two decades, Randy Travis‘s AI voice-clone song “Where That Came From” has officially entered the Billboard Country Airplay chart.

“Where That Came From” is Travis’s first new song since suffering a near-fatal 2013 stroke that robbed him of most of his singing ability. And it was the iconic country musician’s longtime producer Kyle Lehning who used AI tech to overlay decade-old lyrics (originally performed by fellow singer James Dupré) with Travis’s vocal sound. 

Randy’s track marks one of the very first artist-sanctioned uses of their likeness for a commercially released AI song and according to Warner Nashville, Dupré is being credited as the “vocal bed,” the first time such a credit has been used. And thanks to some 33,000,000 first-week streams “Where That …” debuted on Billboard’s Country Airplay chart at #45.

Speaking with Rolling Stone last week, Dupré said that he didn’t know his vocals were the source of the recording until after he heard the song for the first time, stating “The fact that that is possible has really been eye-opening for me.” “I immediately knew that it was a big deal because I knew that this kind of thing had never happened before. I was excited from the get-go to see what would happen with this.”

With artists and record labels exploring how to ensure that their copyrights and likenesses are protected while also allowing the use of the technology to streamline the artistic process, AI is among today’s the hot button music industry topics. 

Shocking fans that such songs are even possible, Travis’s AI song is one of many tracks that’ve surfaced in the past several years. And while this artist was on board, for the most part AI vocals have been controversially created without permission from the artist or copyright holders. Take for instance, Drake, whose voice was used on the infamous “Heart on My Sleeve” from the anonymous songwriter Ghostwriter – used the tech to create AI-generated Tupac Shakur vocals on his Kendrick Lamar diss track “Taylor Made Freestyle,” but Shakur’s estate issued a cease-and-desist, and the song came down.

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Author: Al Denté

Photo: Dwight McCann