How Randy Travis and His Team Used AI to Create “More Where That Came From”

Randy Travis released his first newly recorded single in more than a decade last Friday (May 3). After suffering from a stroke in 2013 that took his voice, many believed he would never record or release new music again. They were only half right. Travis’ team, including his longtime producer Kyle Lehning, worked with another vocalist and AI technology to bring “Where That Came From” to life. In a recent CBS Sunday Mornings special, they revealed how they did it and if they’ll be able to do it again.

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Cris Lacy, the co-chair and co-president of Warner Music Nashville discussed the genesis of “Where That Came From” with CBS Sunday Mornings. In recent years they had all heard AI copies of Travis’ voice. “It doesn’t sound good, and it doesn’t sound real, because it’s not,” she said of the copies. “We started with the concept of, what would AI for good look like for us. And the first thing that came to mind was, we would give Randy Travis his voice back,” she recalled.

[RELATED: The New Randy Travis Single “Where That Came From” Proves That Not All AI Music Is Bad: Opinion]

Lehning was skeptical at first, saying that AI copies sounded like “a parlor trick or something.” However, with Travis’ blessing, he worked toward making an AI-generated vocal copy sound like the real thing.

Creating Randy Travis’ New Single

First, they started with the original recording of Randy Travis’ hit song “1982.” They pulled the vocals from that song to use as building blocks for the new single. Then, they brought in country singer James DuPre to sing “Where That Came From.”

After DuPre laid down his vocals, Lehning laid the AI copy over it. However, he wasn’t fully pleased with the result. “It’s not about how it sounds,” Lehning explained, “it’s about how it feels.” So, he set about “massaging” the track syllable by syllable until it started to feel right to him. “[Randy] being here and him being able to be a vital part of the decision-making process makes all the difference to me,” he added.

Is There More Where That Came From?

Will Randy Travis’ team continue to create songs with AI? The only solid answer at the moment is maybe. They’re already working on another one but it’s not coming together as well.

“We don’t exactly know how to get here again,” admitted Lacy. So, the future is uncertain, but they are still trying.

Featured Image by Rebecca Sapp/WireImage

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