Singaporean pop artist Benjamin Kheng sings with a virtual influencer named Rae in a new video that a press release has touted as a “first-of-its-kind collaboration between human and virtual being in Asia”.
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The heartfelt track – which is under a minute long – marries Kheng’s distinct lilt with Rae’s synthesized voice, which was generated via text-to-speech (TTS) technology and processed through a vocoder.
‘Worlds’ was released with a brief music video. It sees Rae’s uncanny presence traversing an empty corridor while Kheng plays keyboards in a room, with the two never crossing paths.
Watch the video for ‘Worlds’ below.
The press release outlined the technology behind Rae’s voice. “Rae’s newest TTS voice generation technology allows audio content to be generated almost instantly,” it reads. “As a virtual being, Rae speaks in an alto tone with a slight robotic pitch.”
Rae herself issued a statement about working on ‘Worlds’ with Kheng. “Finding my voice and working on my first music video has been an empowering experience. It was a blast working with Ben for “WORLDS”,” she said.
“The song is a natural extension of our interactions across two realms – Ben in the physical and myself in the metaverse. To create a new experience, we experimented with an electronic treatment for my voice, in contrast to Ben’s vocals.”
Kheng, who wrote on Instagram that ‘Worlds’ was an unreleased track about “missing someone so much you create lifetimes with them”, talked about working with the virtual artist.
“I was so curious as to how working with Rae would be, but finally meeting ‘her’ was a blast,” he said. “She might be virtual but she, her team and the whole process felt real ‘real’ to me.”