Randy Travis releases new music with the help of AI after a stroke

For the first time since suffering a stroke, Randy Travis has released new music — with the help of artificial intelligence.

The country star’s latest single, “Where That Came From,” arrived Friday after Travis and his wife, Mary Travis, permitted his record label to re-create his soulful vocals using AI, according to the Associated Press.

Until last week, Randy Travis hadn’t put out anything new in roughly a decade. After he was hospitalized and diagnosed with viral cardiomyopathy (a disease that targets the heart) in July 2013, the “Forever and Ever, Amen” and “Deeper Than the Holler” artist suffered a stroke and developed aphasia, a brain disorder that has limited his ability to speak.

When Warner Music Nashville Co-President Cris Lacy proposed the idea of harnessing AI to reproduce the singer’s voice, the Travises leaped at the opportunity.

“Well, we were all over that,” Mary Travis told AP, “we were so excited.”

“All I ever wanted since the day of the stroke was to hear that voice again.”

The AI technology pulled from Randy Travis music spanning 28 years to create his version of “Where That Came From,” a romantic ballad written by Scotty Emerick and John Scott. Travis’ longtime producer, Kyle Lehning, selected the song because he believed it would best suit the crooner’s vocals.

Mary Travis told AP that the final product moved her husband to tears.

“I remember watching him when he first heard the song after it was completed. It was beautiful because at first, he was surprised, and then he was very pensive, and he was listening and studying,” she said.

“And then he put his head down and his eyes were a little watery. I think he went through every emotion there was, in those three minutes of just hearing his voice again.”

In April, more than 200 musicians — including Stevie Wonder, Billie Eilish and Nicki Minaj — signed an open letter urging AI developers, tech companies and music platforms to stop using AI “to infringe upon and devalue the rights of human artists.” The statement acknowledged, however, that “AI has enormous potential to advance human creativity” when used responsibly.

Other creatives — such as Hollywood writers, actors and craftspeople — have also taken steps to mitigate the encroachment of AI.

Randy Travis is not the only musician to embrace the AI revolution.

Last week, indie pop artist Washed Out released an AI-generated music video for his new song “The Hardest Part.”

“This isn’t a stunt, and it’s not a parlor trick,” Lacy told AP after releasing “Where That Came From.” “It was important to have a song worthy of him.”

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