Making AI Sing: An Interview With Verphoria On The Use Of Artificial Intelligence Within The Music Industry

In today’s music industry, the separation between digital and analogue is almost impossible to determine. At the most basic level, the majority of today’s music is crafted using highly intelligent software. However, at the cutting edge of AI and the music industry, innovators are continuously pushing the boundaries of human/machine collaboration in musical creation as well as business.

One such innovator is Vernica Serjilus, professionally as Verphoria, an American singer, record producer, songwriter, entrepreneur, and the Founder and CEO of Hierarchy Music. Hierarchy Music is a global music company that connects musicians globally with Grammy Award-winning, multi-platinum music services.

At the crux of Hierarchy Music’s operations is data AI and back-end exposure which allow us to bring exposure to new artists, or existing artists and their brands, utilizing both Hierarchy Music and Hierarchy Media’s back-end network.

I spoke with Verphoria about her background as a musician as well as her perspective on the future of AI in music.

How did you get your start in the music industry?

I started singing at the age of four and started record producing at the age of 10.

At the age of 19 I was discovered by Aton Ben Horin and Ethan Curtis, the co-owners of the Grammy Award-winning, multi-platinum Plush Recording Studios. At the age of 22, I was invited to record at Paramount Recording Studio and Neighborhood Watche by renowned engineer/mixer Andrew “Drew” Chavez where I continued to sharpen my skills in music.

My brand Verphoria gained popularity on Instagram and other social media platforms for Music which lead to making appearances at a number of red carpet events, such as those hosted by Maxim Magazine and Sports Illustrated. I gained the attention of Celebrity Director Chris Applebaum (who directed Rihanna’s Umbrella, Britney Spears, Kim Kardashian, Usher, Selena Gomez, Miley Cyrus, Demi Lovato, and Paris Hilton) who will be directing my music videos.

Who are your musical influences?

The biggest influences in my life are Michael Jackson, Rihanna, Britney Spears, Mariah Carey, Shakira, Wolfgang Mozart, and Beyoncé.

Do you use data and AI in your music or in your broader career?

To create my compositions, I use a digital audio workstation (DAW, an electronic device or application software used for recording, editing and producing audio files) called Ableton Live which uses the AI plugin called Magenta Studio that allows me to experiment with open source machine learning tools.

This AI grants me the ability to create learning models for musical melodies, patterns, and rhythms by using a mathematical model.

What are your thoughts on the recent quote from artist Grimes in which she states, “Once there’s actually AGI (Artificial General Intelligence), they’re gonna be so much better at making art than us.”

I am going to disagree with that statement. AGI can be used to speed up the production of music, however, it cannot replace the emotion that comes from music produced by a human, nor can it recapitulate and evoke the emotional connection that musicians possess in the creation of their musical compositions.

Making good art is much more than following an algorithm, it’s the emotional aspect that makes it touch people.

How do you think AI and data are shaping the industry as a whole?

AI will definitely become a bigger and bigger part of the music industry – as it will in every other industry. It is not yet perfect, and it may not ever be perfect on its own, but the use of AI helps to streamline many of the more laborious processes in music production.

Whether this is a good or bad thing is up for debate.

In my personal opinion it is best used as a collaboration tool, not something to make a whole record without the touch of a human. This article brings up a lot of interesting questions and concerns that we will have to deal with in the near future. Now is an exciting time to be in the music industry as we grapple with these problems.

How has data and AI helped you build your career?

AI and backend exposure has been instrumental in growing my personal brand Verphoria. Hierarchy Music and Hierarchy Media’s data AI helped to grow my audience significantly by connecting my existing network to different network niches.

This helped in two main ways: it increased my exposure and helped me understand my audience’s behavior.

The data gleaned from this process was invaluable in growing my brand relatively quickly compared to traditional methods.

What are issues in the music industry you think technology could help solve?

I believe a cloud-based DAW should be created so the music records being produced can be continuously saved and not lost if the computer or hard drive is stolen with unlimited amounts of data that can be stored.

How has technology made the business of being a musician easier? How has it made it more difficult?

The best thing about technology is that it has made becoming a musician more accessible to average people. With enough drive and the will to learn anyone can become a world-class musician. It has also made the technical aspects of making music easier. For example, we can make sure every note, melody, or rhythm is pitched and quantized correctly so there are no mistakes or flaws in the notes.

As for how it has made things more difficult? That is harder for me to answer.

Technology has been constantly evolving throughout my life, so to me it is second nature and is definitely not a problem, but for those people not as comfortable with the ever-changing nature of tech that can pose some difficulties.

Annie Brown is the founder of Lips, a feminist technology organization at the forefront of the inclusive design movement, building products designed to unlock opportunities for previously underserved and intersectionally marginalized communities. Currently, Lips is building more inclusive Machine Learning and Contextual AI technologies that can be used across industries to improve the online experience of traditionally marginalized communities.

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