The future of music

Elvis Presley Reborn: AI and VR bring the king back to life in London

January 4, 2024
Elvis Presley
Source: The Sun

Key takeaways

  • According to Layered Reality, the immersive entertainment company creating Elvis Evolution, the show will recreate events in Presley’s life and music using AI, holographic projection, augmented reality, and live theater.
  • Thanks to virtual reality, fans of Elvis Presley who could not see their idol perform live will be able to see the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll perform later this year.

Thanks to virtual reality, fans of Elvis Presley who could not see their idol perform live will be able to see the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll perform later this year. According to Layered Reality, the immersive entertainment company creating Elvis Evolution, the show will recreate events in Presley’s life and music using AI, holographic projection, augmented reality, and live theater.

Fans of the musician can expect an immersive experience with “Elvis Evolution,” which uses artificial intelligence (AI) and holographic projections of Elvis created from thousands of personal images and home videos.

The virtual trip through Elvis Presley’s life will take viewers from his Mississippi birthplace and Graceland estate to his legendary Las Vegas shows.

In a Reuters interview, Layered Reality CEO Andrew McGuinness revealed that an Elvis Presley “live” AI performance will be the experience’s “crescendo.”

“It’s going to be a joyous celebration of Elvis’s life; the man, the music, and his cultural legacy,” Andrew told Reuters.

After its November London premiere, the show will go on tour to Berlin, Tokyo, Las Vegas, and other cities. This is the second time in recent months that artificial intelligence has been utilized to “bring back to life” a former celebrity so they can perform in the present.

With a bit of assistance from AI, Universal Music Group (UMG) released what was considered the Beatles’ “final song” in November 2023. AI was used to replicate John Lennon’s vocal track for the song “Now and Then.”

A sneak peek into Elvis Presley’s life

Elvis Aron Presley was born in Tupelo, Mississippi, on January 8, 1935. Presley rose from highly modest beginnings to become one of the most well-known figures in rock ‘n’ roll. Presley was raised by his loving, working-class parents, Vernon and Gladys. 

Despite their limited means, Presley and his family moved around a lot. He was born firmly believing in God and was incredibly devoted to his parents, particularly his mother. Presley’s parents took him to the Assembly of God Church, where gospel music greatly influenced him.

On his eleventh birthday in 1946, Presley’s mother gave him his first guitar. A few years later, he won a talent show at Humes High School in Memphis, giving him his first taste of musical success. After graduating in 1953, he pursued his musical dream while working several jobs. 

That year, he recorded his debut demo at what would later be called Sun Studio, and soon after, the record label owner, Sam Phillips, decided to mentor the budding artist. Presley started touring and recording soon later, hoping to land his big break. 1954 saw the release of Presley’s first single, “That’s All Right.”

Presley started to gain popularity in 1955 as a result of his distinctive musical taste, provocative hip-swaying, and attractive appearance. Colonel Tom Parker, his manager, arranged for him to sign a record contract with RCA Records that same year. 

In 1956, Presley achieved several firsts, including his first No. 1 single, “Heartbreak Hotel,” his first No. 1 album, Elvis Presley, and landing a film deal with Paramount Pictures. His seductive dancing skills caused a stir, but he also gained popularity as a guest on several television variety shows.

As an actor and musician, Presley soon found fame and success in both fields. Love Me Tender (1956), his debut picture, was a box office success.

Presley gained the moniker “the king” of rock ‘n’ roll after his incredible career helped popularize the genre in America. For his gospel recordings, he was also honored with three Grammy Awards. A significant force in music, Presley had numerous gold and platinum albums in addition to eighteen No. 1 singles, such as “Don’t Be Cruel,” “Good Luck Charm,” and “Suspicious Minds.”

His appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show on September 9, 1956, catapulted him into superstardom and launched his career. Watching Presley, who was 21 at the time, perform “Don’t Be Cruel” along with “Hound Dog” and “Love Me Tender” attracted sixty million viewers.

At the age of 42, Presley passed away from heart failure early on August 16, 1977. Later on, it was determined that his prescription drug abuse was the cause of his death. On the grounds of Graceland, Presley was interred close to the tombs of his parents, grandmother Minnie Mae Hood Presley, and mother.

Musicians explore AI

Other musicians currently employed in the business have also adopted AI technology. One of the first musicians to voice concerns about technology was the well-known producer and musician Grimes. She announced in April 2023 that she would share 50% of the royalties with composers who use her voice to create AI music.

Not long after, Grimes introduced elf.tech, an open-source software platform devoted entirely to using artificial intelligence to create music by lawfully mimicking her voice.

In an exclusive interview with Premium Times, Nigeria’s music legend, 2baba shared his opinion about the adoption of AI by musicians globally. Amidst the joy derived from employing AI to revive dead music legends and long-forgotten tracks, many still worry about the negative implications of AI. 

“It will make so many people lazy. For me, it will become cheating. A person who uses a computer to do music won’t think creatively. Everything has its advantages, but African music still has a lot of human touch to many things,” 2baba told Premium Times.

For Elvis Presley’s fans who, at the announcement of his death, broke down to their knees, wailing at the thought of never seeing him perform on stage again, AI bringing back the king to life in London on stage is a soothing balm that alleviates their pain and further establishes the brilliance of AI.

Tobi Opeyemi Amure

Tobi started as a crypto writer in 2017 and became a key crypto news editor and SEO specialist at Watcher Guru in 2021, significantly boosting their traffic. He enjoys Afrobeats, R&B, and Soul music in his spare time.

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