Paul McCartney On Using AI To Bring John Lennon’s Voice Back, ‘It’s Scary’

While recently discussing the current state of technology and artificial intelligence with BBC Radio 4, the Beatles icon Paul McCartney explained that using AI to mimic John Lennon’s vocals is both frightening and exciting.

The rocker reflected on AI’s impact on various aspects of their work:

“Well, it is a very interesting thing, you know, it’s something we’re all sort of tackling at the moment and trying to deal with; what’s it mean? Yeah, people… I don’t hear that much because I’m not on the internet that much.

But people will say to me: ‘Oh yeah, there is a track where John [Lennon] is singing one of my songs.’ And it isn’t; it’s just AI, you know? So all of that is kind of scary but exciting because it’s the future.”

McCartney also revealed that they cleaned up the vocals of Lennon to use on an upcoming song:

“And we were able to use that kind of thing when Peter Jackson did the film ‘Get Back,’ where it was us making the ‘Lady P’ album. And he was able to extricate John’s voice from a ropy little bit of cassette that had John’s voice and a piano. He could separate them with AI.

They tell the machine: ‘That’s a voice. This is a guitar; lose the guitar.’ And he did that, so it has great uses. So when we came to make what will be the last Beatles record, it was a demo that John had that we worked on, and we just finished it up. It’ll be released this year.”

Acknowledging the positive and concerning aspects of AI, the musician added:

“We were able to take John’s voice and get it pure through this AI. Then we can mix the record, as you would normally do. So it gives you some sort of leeway. So there is a good side to it and a scary side. And we’ll just have to see where that leads.”

Although Paul McCartney did not specifically mention the song’s title, BBC reported that it might be John Lennon’s ‘Now And Then,’ a track that McCartney has previously expressed interest in completing. In 1995, the remaining three Beatles members started to work on the song as a possible reunion single, but the recording stopped after just two days.

You can listen to his brief interview below.