Over recent months, the wonders of AI have been storming their way through the zeitgeist, enthralling us all with AI’s seemingly limitless creative abilities while simultaneously making us wary of a future where such a phenomenon becomes more of a threat to us than a helpful tool.
Part of the worries surrounding AI have been recently becoming more apparent in the music industry, as we learn more about its surprising talents at replicating the voices of rockstars and writing its own music in various pre-existing styles.
Earlier this month, for example, someone crafted an AI Lana Del Ray cover of Nine Inch Nails’ Hurt, sung in the style of Johnny Cash. And indeed, it was quite the mix, with results that were both rather beautiful and somewhat creepy.
To similar effect, another music fan, YouTuber Hassiel Casañas, has conjured an AI Freddie Mercury cover of The Beatles’ 1965 tune Yesterday, demonstrating the software’s surprising ability to not only mimic the voice of someone alive, but of a voice from beyond the grave, which is er, pretty spooky, to say the least.
While replicating someone’s voice – dead or alive – comes with its own moral implications and potential threats of copyright, listeners in the comments seem seriously enthralled by the AI cover, with one musing over how “every artist has now to live forever and continue to make great music” thanks to the new technology.
Another says: “Ladies and gents, we have to accept this new reality and embrace it, instead of fighting it. AI is here to extend our imaginations and use it hopefully in ways that benefits everyone”.
Whatever your views on AI and its potential future role in the world of music, it’s hard to ignore the beauty of this Freddie Mercury cover, which although shaky in some places, really does sound like the late Queen frontman as if he were here today. Chilling stuff.