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SG singer Benjamin Kheng collaborates with virtual influencer Rae for music video

SG singer Benjamin Kheng collaborates with virtual influencer Rae for music video

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Virtual influencer Rae (pictured left) has released a music video titled “WORLDS” with local homegrown musician Benjamin Kheng (pictured right). According to a media release, this is the first-of-its-kind collaboration between a real life human influencer and a virtual one in Asia. The minute-long music video showcases the virtual influencer's text-to-speech (TTS) voice generation technology, enabled by AI and machine learning. The video is available on Rae’s Instagram and Weibo accounts as well as on her website, and features Kheng’s singing juxtaposed against the virtual influencer’s “alto tone with a slight robotic pitch”.

The TTS technology allows audio content to be generated almost instantly, and also allows Rae to “express her bold personality through a new medium, deepening her engagement with her followers in the digital world and online communities”, said the release. It also added that she is effectively bilingual in English and Mandarin, opening up room for more versatility and creativity in content formats for collaborations. MARKETING-INTERACTIVE has reached out for more information regarding the collaboration.

Rae said: “The song is a natural extension of our interactions across two realms – Kheng 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.” She also added that the song expresses the friendships and rapport she established with every individual across both virtual and reality. “It's about how our worlds, while different, can converge and connect,” said Rae.

Kheng, part of the Singaporean band The Sam Willows said the song was written about a loved one who passed on. On his first collaboration with a virtual infleuncer, he said that he was curious as to how working with Rae would be, and that the whole process felt real to him.

Since her creation in October 2020, Rae has been positioned as a “digital artist with a point of view”, and has a passion for street culture and skateboarding. A quick check by MARKETING-INTERACTIVE found that she has over 10 thousand followers on Instagram, and more than 570 thousand followers on Weibo. She has worked with notable brands such as Audi Singapore for its online premiere for its Audi A3, as well as collaborations with local contemporary street artist Sam Lo (skl0), celebrity hairstylist Kim Robinson, sneaker designer Mark Ong (Mr Sabotage) and street label Monsoon Patrol, as seen on her website. She was also the cover for Chinese online fashion portal and publication, JSTYLE精美, sharing the cover with Chinese rapper VaVa.

In July, Rae released and sold her non-fungible tokens (NFTs) collectible artwork series, titled “TAKE A BYTE”. The collection comprised animated NFT artwork featuring three of Rae’s Instagram posts and was uploaded with a starting bid of US$350 on Mintable, NFT marketplace headquartered in Singapore. According to a press release, each artwork took over 50 hours to conceptualise and create, and was carefully developed by Rae and her creative team. The series was sold out, with the owners of Rae’s debut NFT drops receiving an exclusive AI-generated personalised audio message from her.

Rae said then that she specially chose these three dynamic pieces of art to be part of the first launch as they best conveyed the life of a virtual influencer – as she continues to straddle between the virtual and physical worlds, to bring new experiences to fans. “As a virtual being, I stay connected with my fans via social media, and tapping on blockchain and cryptocurrency technologies has enabled me to uncover a new nexus to forge a stronger connection with them. By sharing these limited-edition collectibles with my loyal fans, they would have something to hold onto, or even trade, for years to come,” added Rae.

Join our Digital Marketing Asia conference happening from 9 November 2021 - 25 November 2021 to learn about the upcoming trends and technologies in the world of digital. Check out the agenda here. 

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