(Paris) Artificial intelligence is being used for another monument, after the Beatles: a project for an animated biopic of Edith Piaf will be developed using this technology, Warner Music and the artist’s rights holders announced on Tuesday.
The announcement of this “innovative and revolutionary technological project, using AI to recreate his voice and image”, according to a press release, comes as 2023 marks 60 years since the disappearance of the interpreter of Non, je ne regret nothing.
No release date is yet planned for this work called Edith. The project is currently “in the final phase of development” and is based on a few images produced for internal use, those close to Warner Music France told AFP.
This 90-minute film, “which will take place in Paris and New York between the 1920s and 1960s,” will be “narrated in Piaf’s voice and will reveal previously unknown aspects of his life,” the press release said.
For Édith, AI technology “trained on hundreds of vocal clips and images, some of which are more than 80 years old, will bring Piaf’s distinct voice and image to life to enhance authenticity and the emotional impact of its story,” he adds.
“It was a special and touching experience to be able to hear Edith’s voice again. The technology gave us the impression of being in the room with her,” said Catherine Glavas and Christie Laume, beneficiaries of the singer famous for La vie en rose and Mon Légionnaire, in the press release.
This biopic promises to be a new turning point in the use of this process. Until recently, amateurs had taken advantage of it to release, without marketing them, pirated versions of more or less successful songs, without the agreement of the artists with the reproduced voice.
The crooner tone of Frank Sinatra, who died in 1998, was found in a version of Coolio’s hit Gangsta’s Paradise and a fake Drake-The Weeknd duet caused a lot of noise.
But the release at the beginning of November of an official Beatles song, regenerated by AI with the agreement of the rights holders, reshuffled the cards.
Now and Then was born from a demo recorded in the late 1970s by John Lennon in his New York apartment. After his assassination in 1980, his widow Yoko Ono handed over the band, voice and piano, to the other members of the group in 1994.
AI recently made it possible to isolate Lennon’s voice and mix it with recordings of other musicians, including George Harrison, recorded before his death in 2001. The song was completed and endorsed by both living members, Paul McCartney, 81, and Ringo Starr, 83.
“Édith Piaf is one of the greatest French artists of all time, always being a source of pride for the French. It’s a very delicate balancing act when it comes to combining new technology with heritage artists,” describes Alain Veille, president of Warner Music France, in the press release.
The director hopes “through this film” to reach a “whole new audience and inspire a new generation of fans”.
Edith Piaf’s music is still alive: Non, je ne regrette rien and La vie en rose have more than 300 million streams between them on Spotify, the number one platform in the music streaming market.