How Artificial Intelligence Helped Randy Travis Sing Again [LISTEN]

How Artificial Intelligence Helped Randy Travis Sing Again [LISTEN] | Classic Country Music | Legendary Stories and Songs Videos

Randy Travis/Facebook

11 years after Randy Travis suffered a near-fatal stroke, the beloved country artist is singing again thanks to AI.

On Friday, May 3, Randy Travis released his first studio recording in over a decade. Travis’s stroke affected his ability to walk, spell, read, and speak, but he has spent the last 11 years relearning those skills.

While Randy is able to walk with assistance, he is still unable to fully communicate with his voice. Doctors didn’t expect the country music legend to survive his debilitating stroke. He proved them wrong not only by pulling through but also by singing “Amazing Grace” at his own Country Music Hall of Fame induction ceremony in 2016.

Randy Travis hasn’t sung much publicly since so fans were surprised to hear that he was releasing a new song, his first newly-recorded song since his 2013 stroke.

Leading up to the release of the song titled “Where That Came From,” Travis shared reactions to other artists hearing the song for the first time. Cody Johnson, Josh Turner, Clay Walker, and Chase Matthew were just a few of Randy’s friends who were treated to a sneak peek. Reactions varied from awe to tears as they witnessed Randy Travis’s voice coming back to life.

But, one question remained. If Randy Travis can barely speak, how was he able to record a new song? The answer is simple: Artificial intelligence.

In an interview scheduled to air Sunday, May 5, Cris Lacy, co-chair and president of Warner Music Nashville, told “CBS News Sunday Morning” correspondent Lee Cowan that the record label started exploring how they could incorporate AI into their business.

“There’s just so much chatter about all the negative sides of AI. We started with this concept of, ‘What would AI … look like for us?’ And the first thing that came to mind [was] we would give Randy Travis his voice back,” Lacy said.

Randy’s longtime producer, Kyle Lehning, started putting together a new track using Travis’s vocals from past recordings.

“With the help of another singer, a specially-designed AI program overlayed Travis’ voice on the new recording,” CBS reported.

The “Forever and Ever, Amen” singer was on-hand every step of the way as the team worked with the AI-generated voice to make it into something that sounded authentically Randy Travis.

“It’s not about how it sounds. It’s about how it feels,” Lehning said.

“It’s Randy Travis,” said Lacy. “Randy’s on the other side of the microphone. … It’s still his vocal …There’s no reason he shouldn’t be able to make music. … And to deprive him of that, if he still wants to do that, that’s unconscionable to me.”

In 2013, Randy Travis was admitted to the hospital with viral cardiomyopathy, an infection that affects the heart.

While hospitalized, Randy suffered a massive stroke and underwent immediate surgery to relieve pressure on his brain. At the time, his spokesperson said that the stroke was a “complication of his congestive heart failure.”

Travis was give a less than 1% chance of surviving, but his wife, Mary Davis, didn’t give up on him despite being encouraged to take him off life support.

“Even in his state, his semi-coma state, he squeezed my hand,’’ she said in a 2019 interview. “And he laid there, and I just I saw this tear just fell. And it was, you know, one, two at a time. And I just went back to the doctors and I said, ‘We’re fighting this.”’

And we’re glad they did fight it! Hearing Randy Travis’s voice once again is as emotional as one might expect. Listen to Randy Travis’s new single, “Where That Came From,” in the video below.

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